In line with the International Youth Day celebration, the MDG Fund Joint Programme on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Work for Filipino Youth is organizing an event titled “Kabataan: Jobs and Alternatives to Migration” or KA JAM. This will be held on Friday, 12 August 2011, at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia in Pasay City. It will serve as a platform for the presentation of the key youth employment and migration priorities to His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III who will be the Keynote Speaker.
This event also coincides with the culmination of the International Year of the Youth. The United Nations recognizes that young people in all countries are a major human resource for development, positive social change and technological innovation. Their ideals, energy and vision are essential for the continuing development of their societies. Young people are not merely passive beneficiaries but effective agents of change. Dedicated, enthusiastic and creative, youth have been contributing to development by addressing society’s most challenging issues. In line with the United Nation’s commitment, the joint programme aims to contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) employment indicators (MDGs) by the Government of the Philippines, specifically: MDG 1 Target 1 B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.
The Philippines is known to have a dominantly young population with 19.3 per cent of its total population of 88 million (NSO, 2007) falling between the ages 15 – 24 years old. Of this, many young Filipinos are of working age. However, unemployment in the country is largely concentrated among young workers which in 2010 comprised more than half (1.460 million or 51.1%) of the total unemployed. This resulted to an unemployment rate of 17.6 per cent which was more than twice the national rate of 7.5 per cent. Double-digit unemployment rate was also noted among the college educated at about 11 per cent. Accounting for 1.163 million or 41.1 per cent of total unemployed in 2009, most of them have high “reservation wage” and consequently can afford to be unemployed or wait for better job offers.
Education is a first step to decent work and employment opportunities a second. In the Philippines, the drop-out rates at the public secondary education level is high. It is observed that for every 10 students that enter first year high school, only four graduate and finish fourth year high school. Unfortunately, both young women and men are at risk of dropping out of school due to poverty. Out-of-School Youths (OSY) and students at risk of dropping-out (SARDO) are forced to join the labor force to provide income for their families while women are faced with traditional child-rearing and housekeeping responsibilities that have also hindered young women from completing secondary education.
Meanwhile youth comprise about 35% of all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) which translates to a significant “youth” share in the national financial inflows associated with migration. While migration brings significant economic benefits, it also entails social costs to children. Children of migrant workers are left in the care of surrogate parents and are reported to contribute to a high-drop-out rate due to a diminishing interest to finish school, work or build a career, and a tendency to be overly dependent on remittances and are enticed to join parents to work overseas. Young workers outside the country expose themselves to the risks of migration such as exploitation and human trafficking especially among women.
With the support from the Government of Spain, the Joint Programme on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth under the thematic window of youth employment and migration, better known as “JP YEM”, was developed by the UN Country Team agencies (ILO, IOM, UNICEF and UNFPA) in support to the Philippine Government’s vision of a productive and competitive youth. Specifically, it aims to achieve two outcomes over a period of three years: Outcome 1. Improved policy coherence and implementation on youth employment and migration through full stakeholder participation, in which the following outputs are expected and Outcome 2. Increased access to decent work for poor, young women and men.
The Joint Programme also aims to contribute to the attainment by the Government of the Philippines of the Millennium Development Goals: MDG 1 – Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; MDG 3 – Promote gender equality and empower women; and MDG 8 – Develop a global partnership for development. At the local government level, it provides direct services in the poorest regions of the country, focusing on four provinces with high incidences of out-of-school and poor youth, low enrolment rates, and where the MDGs , particularly Goal 1, are least likely to be achieved: Masbate (Region V), Antique (Region VI), Maguindanao (ARMM), and Agusan del Sur (CARAGA Region).
It is implemented in partnership with national government agencies with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as lead implementing agency, the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), National Youth Commission (NYC; the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); Provincial Governments of Agusan del Sur, Antique, Masbate, and Maguindanao; Private sector; Employers Organizations/Chambers of Commerce/Business Associations; NGOs/Workers’ Organizations; and Youth Organizations.
One of the major strategies to achieve the joint programme outcomes is the development and implementation of an advocacy and communications plan that will help persuade key decision makers and multi-stakeholders to address the various concerns surrounding the youth, employment and migration both at the national and local government level.
In March 2011, an Advocacy and Communications Planning Workshop was conducted at the TESDA women’s center to develop a plan that would support Output 1.1 the formulation and adoption of a National Action Agenda/Plan on youth employment and migration to inform local and national development processes. This was based on the premise that the Strategy Paper on YEM being prepared by DOLE Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) will have outlined key policy priorities that would include among others: a) Efficient labor market information systems to help the youth make smarter career choices, based on a proactive exchange of information among players in the labor market; b)Responsive career coaching and training modalities as preparatory measures intended to set the stage for the youth for the world of work; c) Strengthen Local Development Opportunities by advocating local government institutions to providing the policy environment for promoting youth employment in their community; d) Youth Awareness of Workers’ Rights and the World of Work to help reduce their vulnerabilities that may affect their rights at work, access to employment, social protection and social dialogue; e) Foster active, vibrant and sustainable partnerships with the private sector in terms of sharing resources and providing opportunities for entrepreneurship, training and employment; f) Harness development gains of migration and mitigating its social costs to strengthen youth employment policies and programmes; g) Championing the Youth as Partners in Development to influence policy and programs through active participation and leadership in affairs concerning youth employment and migration.
One of the key activities identified was the conduct of a high impact event on International Youth Day on 12 August 2011. This also marks the end of the ILO’s declaration of the International Year of the Youth (2010 – 2011). This one –day event is expected to be the platform for the presentation of the key priorities that will be the foundation for the development of the National Action Plan for YEM. The event will also have topic specific breakout sessions to discuss the recommendations of the strategy paper. The event hopes to attract 500 YEM advocates from government agencies, academe, youth groups, trade unions, employer’s groups and the development community and other interested stakeholders
For further information please contact
Ms Ruth Honculada-Georget
Joint Programme Coordinator
ILO Project on Alternatives for Migration: Decent Work Opportunities for Filipino Youth
10th Floor, GE Antonino Building
J. Bocobo corner T. M. Kalaw Streets, Ermita, Manila