Press Release
September 14, 2016


Mr. President, my dear colleagues, mga minamahal kong mga kababayan, isang mapagpala at magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

I rise today on a matter of personal and collective privilege concerning an issue very close to my heart - the prevalence of job skills mismatch in the country.

Mr. President, the gap between education and available jobs is not a new issue: When I was TESDA's Secretary, it was one of our major concerns. Earlier this year, the International Labor Organization stated that job-skills mismatch remains a constraining factor for the growth of the Philippine economy.

Kalimitan, hindi po tugma ang training at edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan sa hinahanap na kwalipikasyon ng mga employers.

Just look at the classified ads every Sunday in Manila Bulletin or visit Phil-Job-Net and you will find that job opportunities abound. Not to mention are the job orders listed in the POEA website.

Even the DOLE reported that out of the 4,239,392 domestic and international job vacancies offered in job fairs nationwide in 2014 and 2015, only 391,088 among 1,286,073 applicants were hired on the spot.

According to the report, mismatch is strongly felt in the manufacturing, electronics and semiconductor and tourism - these are the sectors which are key employment generators based on the Philippine Development Plan.

Samakatuwid, Mr. President, hindi po trabaho ang kulang, ang kulang ay mga graduates na swak sa trabaho.

Job-skills mismatch is one of the causes of youth unemployment in the Philippines: Recent surveys reveal that Filipino youth suffers the highest rate of unemployment among age groups. The International Labor Organization estimates that unemployment rate among Filipino youth aged 15-24 averaged at 16.5% from 2010 to 2015.

However, youth unemployment brought about by mismatch between workers' skills and labor market requirements is felt in many parts of the world - employers complain about the difficulty of getting workers who are fit for the job. Thirty-four percent (34%) of those who participated in the survey attributed this to a lack of technical competencies.

The 2014 report of the Global Agenda Council on Employment identifies different forms of skills mismatch such as (1) Skills shortage, which means that the demand for a particular type of skill exceeds the supply of people with that skill at equilibrium rates of pay; (2) Qualification mismatch, which means that the level of qualification and/or the field of qualification is different from that required to perform the job adequately; and (3) Skill gap, which means that the type of skills is different from that required to perform the job adequately.

Mr. President, lahat po ng mga nabanggit kong uri ng skills mismatch ay nararamdaman at nakikita natin dito sa Pilipinas, noon at hanggang ngayon. Bagamat marami na po tayong programa at mga batas na tumutugon dito, tila kulang pa rin o marami pa ring kailangang pagtuunan ng pansin. Malaki po ang magagawa ng Senado para tumugon sa problema ng job-skills mismatch sa bansa.

It is for this reason that this representation filed Senate Resolution No. 129, directing the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and other appropriate committees to inquire and review, in aid of legislation, the state of job-skills mismatch in the Philippines.

I believe that we can address this issue by (1) partnering with industry associations; (2) strengthening our enterprise-based training; (3) expanding our technical vocational education and training; and (4) institutionalizing the Philippine Qualifications Framework or PQF.

FIRST, there is a need for greater industry partnerships:

Noong nasa TESDA pa po ako, nagdaos po kami ng mga industry forum, kauna-unahang pagkakataon sa kasaysayan ng ahensya kung saan inimbita namin ang mga employers para marinig namin ang kanilang pananaw tungkol sa isyu ng job-skills mismatch sa bansa.

The forum was successful and it assisted us in TESDA in providing and improving our services in order to ensure a good match between skills acquired in education and on the job and those required in the labour market. The forum with the participation of various sectors was a great contribution to helping us bridge the gap between the programs being offered by TESDA and the demand of the market. In addition, we partnered with various industry associations to provide job opportunities to out-of-school youth and unemployed youth to train them in various qualifications.

Aligning our educational curricula with the needs of the market will help address job-skills mismatch. The 2014 study of the Global Agenda Council on Employment concludes that "qualification mismatches are reflections of a misalignment between people's educational choices and labour market needs."

As such, policy interventions should be geared towards improving the communication flows between education and training and the labor market. For example, if a certain region is a known hub for manufacturing plants, universities and/or teaching centers in that region should offer courses that are meant to supply the the demand of the job market in that particular locality.

Pinag-aralan din po namin noon sa TESDA kung paano tayo magkakaraon ng Information System Strategic Plan o ISSP para sa mga negosyante at mga kababayan natin na naghahanap ng trabaho. Halimbawa, iyong mga negosyante na gustong mag-invest sa Bulacan o Cebu, puwede na nilang i-check online ang availability ng mga skilled workers dito tulad ng mga barista, bartenders, chefs, tour guides, at iba pa. Pwede ring i-check ng mga Bulakenyo o Cebuano kung anong mga kumpanya ang naghahanap ng mga empleyado at ano ang mga kwalipikasyon.

In 2010, a World Bank study concluded that the low certifications of students in technologically-advanced areas is contributing to the job-skills mismatch in the Philippines. DOLE's Labor Market Information Report for 2013 to 2020 has identified 275 key occupations as in-demand, while 102 occupations have been identified as hard-to-fill from among key and emerging industries.

Mr. President, our schools must use these data in preparing the courses that they will offer since they do not operate in a vacuum. We need to establish better linkages between our institutions to ensure that after our workers graduate from their courses, they will have suitable jobs.

A mismatch between skills acquired in education and on the job and those required in the labour market comes with a great economic and social cost if we are unable to address this issue. Overqualified workers are not satisfied with their jobs and results in a higher turnover rate. Underqualified workers is a constant source of headache by employers and affects their productivity.

SECOND, we also need to strengthen our enterprise-based training:

This representation believes that employers' participation in tech-voc is necessary for the success of skills development activities through on-the-job training.

I filed Senate Bill No. 208 or the "Enterprise-Based Education and Training Act" to help meet the demand of the economy for well-trained manpower and to ensure that the trainees will acquire the right competencies required for the job. However, enrolment in enterprise-based training lagged behind at only 408,882 or 4.11% of the total TVET outputs from 2010-2015.

Mr. President, the government's partnerships with industry associations in the last six years prove that skills development activities can be a nexus where the pursuit of public and private needs intersect. Engaging the business community in education and training will help us reach out to as many people, especially the youth, who are seeking for jobs and other opportunities.

THIRD, we need to strengthen and expand our technical vocational education and training:

A recent ILO survey reveals that 31% of youth in low-income countries had no education qualifications at all. This representation believes that a technical education geared towards middle level manpower is one of the possible solutions to improve this number.

Based on available data, technical vocational education graduates have an employment rate of 65.4%. For the past six years, there are 10,543,440 tech-voc graduates. From 2010-2016, a total of 1,286,029 graduates received technical vocational education training scholarships. The employment rate of those who graduated under the Training for Work Scholarship Program or TWSP is at 72% but when it comes to the IT-BPM industry, TESDA graduates had an employment rate of 70.9% while the electronics and semiconductor program recorded 91.4% employment rate.

Ito ay malinaw na ebidensya na may trabahong naghihintay sa mga tech-voc graduates. Napatunayan namin ito sa TESDA noon. Lalo na po siguro kung palalawakin pa natin ang mga programa sa tech-voc.

As I have already mentioned, the Filipino youth suffers the highest rate of unemployment among age groups. The large number of unemployed youth imply a large market for technical vocational education. This representation believes that "technical vocational education and training (TVET) will play a central role in the new education model that prepares students for tertiary education, middle-skills development, employment and entrepreneurship."

Kaya't ako po'y natutuwa na sa mahigit isang milyong kabataang pumasok sa Senior High School ngayong taon, 40% po o mahigit 400,000 Senior High School Students and pumili sa tech-voc track. Sa kabilang banda, kailangan ding kontrolin ng CHED ang bilang ng mga kabataang nag-e-enrol sa mga popular but oversubscribed courses tulad ng nursing at HRM.

Mr. President, improving our technical vocational education will also be in accord with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 which provides that "[b]y 2030, increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship."

FOURTH, and lastly, we need to institutionalize the Philippine Qualifications Framework:

The Philippine Qualifications Framework embodied under Senate Bill No. 211, or an "Act Institutionalizing the Philippine Qualifications Framework, and Establishing the National Coordinating Council for Education" seeks to institutionalize the PQF articulated under Executive Order No. 83, series of 2012, issued by President Benigno Aquino III.

The PQF harmonizes basic education, technical vocational education and training and tertiary education into a nationwide schedule of skills and competencies that incorporates an 8-level Qualifications Descriptors defined in terms of knowledge, skills and values, application, and degree of independence. With the PQF, students can gain a clearer picture of the competencies they need for their job interests while employers are able to easily identify the basic work skills their employees must possess.

The PQF seeks to improve the competitiveness of Filipino workers by ensuring that education, training and certificates and licenses issued in the Philippines are also recognized by other jurisdictions such as ASEAN-member countries and other countries through Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs). However, the scope of MRAs should also encompass low- and medium-skilled workers such as construction, garment, fishing, and other sectors.

Mr. President, kung mapagtutugma lang natin ang edukasyon sa mga eskwelahan at ang mga pangangailangang kwalipikasyon ng mga industriya, makakalikha po tayo ng maraming trabaho. Tiyak po ang asenso ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino.

Napatunayan na po namin ito noon sa TESDA. At kahit saan po ako pumunta, bitbit ko ang ilang kwento ng tagumpay ng ating mga tech-voc graduates mula sa milyon-milyong Pilipinong nabago ang buhay dahil sa akma at de-kalidad na kasanayan:

Tulad po ni REYNALDO CASERES, tubong Negros Oriental: Noon, wala siyang mapasukang disenteng trabaho. Pagkatapos kumuha ng Automotive Servicing NC II, nag-apply abroad at ngayon Truck Mechanic sa Automotive Holdings Group sa Perth, Australia.

Noon, pa-sideline-sideline lang sa pagkakarpintero si RYAN CORDOVA ng Davao City. Dahil sa kursong Industrial Automation and Mechatronics NC III, Senior Automation Engineer na siya ngayon sa Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At kahit hindi naman inhinyero si Ryan, "Sir Engineer" ang tawag ng mga tauhan nyang licensed engineers sa kanya!

Si MARK ESCORA, isang polio victim at jeepney barker na hindi pinalampas ang TESDA scholarship program para sa Finishing Course for Call Center Agents. Ngayon, Escalation Supervisor na si sa Pan-Asiatic Solutions, isang BPO Company sa Bacolod.

These stories show how the Filipino workers benefit from abundant opportunities through relevant skills. As I have mentioned, we can ease job-skills mismatch in the country by considering: how can we better involve our industries in the provision of skills, especially through apprenticeship or enterprise-based training; to what extent are we willing to expand TVET; and how can we fastrack the implementation of the Philippine Qualifications Framework.

Mr. President, my dear colleagues, if our people have relevant skills: they will have more choices; they will be right for the job; the pursuit of happiness can be real for them.

Sama-sama po tayo sa paglikha ng mga batas para tuldukan na ang job-skills mismatch sa bansa at palawakin ang choices ng mga manggagawang Pilipino.

Maraming salamat po at pagpalain tayo ng ating Panginoon.

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