House okays bill to reduce number of jobless Filipinos



Voting 277 against three and zero abstentions, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill that aims to reduce the number of jobless Filipinos by matching their education and skills to available job opportunities.

The approved measure, House Bill (HB) No. 7370, is known by its full title as “An Act creating a tripartite council to address unemployment, underemployment and the job-skills mismatch problem in the country, and appropriating funds therefor.”

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the proposed law would benefit a lot of unemployed workers, college graduates, and students as the proposed council is tasked to help them match their skills and education with jobs currently available as well as future employment opportunities.

“Part of our unemployment problem is due to the fact that many of the new members of our labor force do not possess the competency employers are looking for. Their education and job requirements do not match. This is one of the problems we would like to address in approving the bill,” he said.

Among the main objectives of the measure is to “ensure the relevance and adequacy of academic courses in the higher education curriculum and training programs offered in technical-vocational institutions in relation to the needs and requirements of the business and industry sectors and the overall human resource requirement of the country pursuant to its economic development goals.”

The envisioned tripartite council “shall be a coordinating body among the government, academe, and industry sectors to primarily monitor economic trends in the global and domestic markets, including those pertaining to business and commerce and the local market, and to generate information relative to employment, unemployment, underemployment, and job-skills mismatch.”

The government shall be represented in the council by a commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), a deputy director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), an education undersecretary, a labor and employment undersecretary and an undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

On the other hand, the academe will be represented by presidents of the federations of public and private colleges and universities, public and private technical-vocational schools, and accreditation bodies of higher and technical-vocational educational institutions, including the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges, Association of Local Colleges and Universities, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Institutions, Technical-Vocational Schools and Associations of the Philippines, National Network of Quality Assurance Agencies, and Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines.

The presidents of Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc., Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Education, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress, and People Management Association of the Philippines shall represent the industry-business sector in the council.

The CHED commissioner sitting in the council will serve as its chairperson, with the TESDA deputy director general as vice chairperson. The council shall be attached to the CHED for administrative and budgetary purposes.

Among the tri-sector body’s powers are to monitor trends in the domestic and international labor market, and the incidence of unemployment, underemployment, and job-skills mismatch in the country; and formulate policies, plans, and programs to address these problems.

It shall also conduct an inventory, review, and evaluation of courses and academic programs of private and public higher learning institutions; assess the qualifications and skills of students and graduates; and list job specifications and skills requirements of various industries.

It shall recommend to Congress and the President policy measures that need to be enacted or undertaken to solve employment-related problems.

The CHED, in consultation with TESDA and the departments of education, labor, and employment, and trade and industry, shall issue implementing rules and regulations.

Bill No. 7370 is based largely on a proposed law filed by Baguio Rep. Mark Go, who chairs the committee on higher and technical education.

Catherine R. Cueto

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