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PIA Press Release

Feature: Pinoy youths struggle midst mounting unemployment

by Fryan E. Abkilan

Surigao City (March 16) -- Filipino youths are almost twice to be unemployed than adults, an International Labor Organization (ILO) official said during a National Youth Conference/Workshop for Decent Work under Global Crisis organized by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) held recently in Tagaytay City.

ILO Employment and Migration Project Coordinator Roche Angon said that in the 2008 NSO Labor Force survey, Filipino young people aged 24 years old and below across the nation hit bloc nearly 50% unemployed.

"In 2008, about 6.58 million youth are employed compared with 27.5 million adult workers. Consequently, 1.4 million youth are unemployed or 17.4% as compared to 4.6% or 1.33 million adult unemployed," said Angon.

She also said that youth unemployment across the region has risen as inadequate training and the widespread use of short-term jobs make young workers one of the main victims of the economic meltdown.

Meantime, Toshiyuki Wakatsuki, Youth & Education Senior Officer of the International Trade Union Confederation in Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) described youth unemployment rate as "very critical."

Wakatsuki attributed the high youth unemployment rate on the fact that young people in their own respective countries are primarily employed on short-term contracts that require company to pay lesser benefits and these have been the first to be eliminated in the recession.

Wakatsuki then called for an urgent support for the youth that include opportunities for employment and job creation, education, training/re-training and job exchange, working and social lives of the youth and trade union participation.

Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth

The ILO together with other UN country team agencies that include International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN International Children's Fund (UNICEF) developed a program called Youth, Employment and Migration (YEM): Alternatives to Migration, Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth specifically to improved policy coherence and implementation on youth, employment and migration through full stakeholder participation, and increased access to decent work for poor specifically to the young women and men in the country.

The YEM according to Angon will be implemented by the different line agencies which act as the National Steering Committee.

She however said that the YEM Programme will only be implemented on the identified pilot project sites in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Antique, Masbate and Maguindanao.

"Discussions and workshop were already conducted to the different stakeholders and we are now in the initial stage of implementation," she added.

"The programs hopes to benefit some 10,000 poor and vulnerable youth aged from 15-24 years old who are Out-of-School Youths, In-school Youths, high school graduates, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Youth left behind by OFW parents," said Angon.

Trade Unions to the Rescue

To demonstrate its concern for members, TUCP Campaign Officer Dominador Tuvera introduced the SALT program which stands as Solidarity action, Advocacy, Legislation and Trade Unions' action.

"It will be the unions' action to the mounting unemployment problem of the youth in the country," said Tuvera.

The SALT will serve as an entry point in engaging government's programs and speed up its responses and interventions.

He also reminded its members the right to organize and collective bargaining. (PIA-Surigao del Norte) [top]

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