Alternatives to migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth, a Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund joint Programme—this is what was revealed through the leadership of the Development of Labor and Employment with the different agencies under it, International Labor Organization on Migration, United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, and the UN Fund for Population Activities as a part of the celebration of international Youth Day and International Year for the Youth.
The program, which is also supported by the Government of Spain, is devoted to address youth employment and migration. This year’s focus is the realization that the Filipino youth comprise a large part of the contributors in the labor force. This also serves as recognition for the young Filipinos who, at their very young age, are already excelling in their respective fields.
Commissioner Percival Vilar Cendana, in fact, pinpointed the reality in the current Filipino society that youth nowadays are very much motivated to work. In a survey done by the National Youth Commission, it was revealed out that most of the youth in the Philippines want to get good jobs in order for them to help their families. This reality thus makes the focus of the celebration relevant and timely.
In relation to this celebration, there was an event called Kabataan: Jobs and Alternatives to Migration, also called as KA JAM, held at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. In this event, there was a presentation of the Youth Empowerment and Migration (YEM) Strategy Framework. This was followed by a keynote address from Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
Attention to the 27 million Filipino youth is good news because they play important roles as the backbone of human resources in the Philippines as well as the economic development programs for this term.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, in fact, emphasized the Filipino youth’s role not only as recipient of public goods but also as citizens of the country. She also said that these young people is our responsibility and the event is actually an opportunity for them to be empowered.
All these efforts aim to make the Filipino youth productive and competitive. For example, according to the data from the National Statistics Office, there are around 18.22 million Filipino youth whose ages range from 15-24 years old. Among these, 6.82 million are employed, while the unemployed are 1.46 million.
These data show that majority of the Filipino youth today are working, thus, shows how powerful their force is in relation to labor. Secretary Baldoz also added that many of these young people are also encouraged by their own parents to join them abroad and like them, become overseas filipino workers (OFWs).
The lack of educational attainment or experience is greatly connected to the lack of skills which is why, in order to give them decent work and employment opportunities, they should be given the chance to really finish secondary education and pursue either a technical vocational course or enter the university.
So, to empower these young Filipinos, one solution is giving them enough opportunity which will become alternatives for migration. Like what is believed, if there are enough opportunities for decent jobs for the Filipino youth, they no longer need to go abroad to work and even risk their safety.
On the other hand, Baldoz also suggested that apart from education, entrepreneurship at an early age is also one option which is, according to her, an alternative to wage employment.
But with these efforts also go some expectations. During the open forum, it was stressed that the youth is also expected to perform well as they are given opportunities.
Chairman Leon G. Flores III of the National Youth Commission, should also start from the youth themselves by being sure of what they want to be. To maximize their potential and to be empowered, the youth should follow their passions.
Photos from Pocholo Gonzales, CreatiVoices Production. Some rights reserved.