ADB OKs $400 million loan to address youth unemployment
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $400 million policy-based loan that will support the Philippine government’s efforts to reduce the number of out-of-school and unemployed Filipino youth, in line with its push for more inclusive growth in the country.

In a media briefing yesterday, ADB country director Kelly Bird said the loan is under the second subprogram of its Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program, which will support government reforms aimed at improving the employability of young Filipinos through labor market programs and provi-
ding easier access to on-the-job training schemes to help them secure and retain jobs.

Bird said this is aimed to help out-of-school youth to be better integrated into the labor market.

The program builds on ADB’s previous support to the government’s employment initiatives, particularly the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s design and roll out of the Jobstart Philippines Program, a full-cycle youth employment facilitation program.

“Many young Filipinos today are anxious about their career prospects in a very competitive labor market. This program will enhance public employment services to help them transition from school to work,” said Jose Antonio Tan III, ADB Southeast Asia regional department director for public management, financial sector and trade.

“ADB has a longstanding partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment in youth employment programs. We are committed to helping generate more job opportunities for young Filipinos,” he said.

The Philippines has made some progress in reducing unemployment in the country as the number of Filipino youth aged 15 to 24 not in employment, education and training (NEET) fell to 22 percent in 2017 from 25 percent in 2012.

Despite this, ADB pointed out that the figure is still relatively high compared with the average rate of 18 percent in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

It added 28 percent of young Filipino women are still in NEET, mainly young women with high school education or less.

Bird said the ADB is targeting to bring down the country’s NEET to below 20 percent with the implementation of its Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program.

“I think clearly the target is, the lower the better. This program is aiming below 20 percent,” Bird said.

The new ADB loan supports the government’s efforts to expand and transform operations of the Public Employment Services Offices in local government units (LGUs) across the country into more professional processes with quality standards, broaden the coverage of the Jobstart Philippines Program, and introduce skills development schemes targeting specific sectors.

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