Press Release
December 13, 2016




Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" A. Aquino IV
17th Congress, Senate of the Philippines
Sponsorship Speech, December 13, 2016

Good afternoon, Mr. President and my distinguished colleagues. Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

I am honored to address you today as I sponsor a policy that seeks to empower every Filipino graduate with gainful employment by bridging our schools and industries.

Senate Bill No. 1278, Under Committee Report No. 20 entitled: An Act Establishing Job Placement Offices in Public High Schools to Provide Career Services to the Youth also known as the Trabaho Center in Schools Act seeks to ensure that every high school graduate in the Philippines can join the workforce and build a successful career by institutionalizing job placement offices in our public schools and State Universities and Colleges.

"Nag-aral. Nag-apply. Nabigo." Isa po ito sa mga sikat naming post sa Facebook.

Marami po ang nag-like, nag-share, at nag-comment ng kanilang karanasan sa paghahanap ng trabaho. Marami po ang nagsikap sa pag-aaral, gumaan ang loob sa pagtatapos at pag-graduate, ngunit nahirapan pa ring makahanap ng trabaho. Marami po ang naka-relate sa pagkabigo sa job hunt.

Unfortunately, Mr. President, graduating from high school - even earning a college degree - is not a guarantee of finding a job and kickstarting a career.

As you know, one of the promises of the K to 12 Program is that even high school graduates should be ready and able to seize employment opportunities right after Grade 12. Ngunit marami pa rin po tayong maaaring gawin para masigurado ang pangarap na ito.

Mr. President, in data released by the Philippine Statistics Office, the unemployment rate is at 4.7% with over 2 million jobless Filipinos. The number of underemployed Filipinos is also quite staggering - 7.51 million Filipinos. Clearly, there is a need, not only to generate employment opportunities, but also to address the jobs mismatch in the country.

Let's make sure that all the hard work of our students, their parents, and their teachers do not go to waste. Let's ensure that there are suitable jobs waiting for students - and that our students are ready to take them on once they graduate.

Mr. President, the Trabaho Center in Schools Act will serve as that bridge between the job market and the supply of graduates. It mandates the establishment of a Trabaho Center in every public high school and SUC with main services that include: 1) Industry Matching, 2) Career Coaching, and 3) Employment Facilitation. The key to success of the Trabaho Center is its relationship with - and knowledge of - potential employers and industries in their area.

The Trabaho Centers will link with industries to create a functional academic-industry partnership so there can be continuous checking and updating of curricila and courses offered to our students, especially on the tech-voc track in our K to 12 system. They must maintain an updated database of employers, contacts, and job opportunities in the locality and use this data to provide students coaching on what fields of study are available and what specific jobs they can expect to apply for upon graduation. With an updated database and a deep understanding of the needs of companies and employers, these Trabaho Centers can move beyond the usual aptitude tests and vague, conceptual career advice. Career coaching in our Trabaho Centers must be well informed and practical.

Knowing the needs of the job market and being aware of the skills and knowledge of students, Trabaho Centers can also go beyond job fairs and pre-employment seminars when it comes to employment facilitation. Our responsive Trabaho Centers can address the skills mismatch from within our schools, giving feedback for teaching modules and even working with TESDA to better develop the skills of graduates and ensure employability upon graduation. These Trabaho Centers will not only provide information on the available jobs, but also help schools improve their approaches and regularly update their lessons.

This simple intervention can strengthen the link between education and employment, and can build a steady bridge for our graduates to cross over to stable jobs and sustainable livelihood. With Trabaho Centers in every school, a diploma will be more than a symbol and a graduation will be more than a milestone. With Trabaho Centers in every school, graduates are ensured gainful employment and can look forward to a secure future.

Nag-aral at nagtapos. Nagtrabaho at umasenso. 'Yan po ang pangarap natin para sa bawat Pilipino!

Siguraduhin po natin na may trabahong naghihintay para sa bawat graduate. Siguraduhin natin na may sapat na kaalaman at kakayahan ang mga bagong graduate na punuan ang mga job vacancies. Siguraduhin natin na maipapasa ang Trabaho Center in Schools Act!

Mr. President and distinguished colleagues, let's come together and rally for the future of every Filipino student! Let's bridge that gap between free, quality education and a secure career so that we can finally beat poverty and bring forth prosperity for every Filipino! Maraming, maraming salamat po! Magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

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