Tuesday, September 23, 2014


MANILA-Senator Sonny Angara has stressed the need to expand and strengthen the network of the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) to address the persistent issue of unemployment in the country, especially in the rural areas.

Angara, the acting chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources, on Tuesday delivered a sponsorship speech on Senate Bill No. 1386, which seeks to amend Republic Act 8759 or the Public Employment Service Act of 1999.

"The policies that govern our PESOs must be fine-tuned and improved—the very objective of the measure we are sponsoring today, as originally pushed and authored by Senator Jinggoy Estrada," he said.

The PESO law was enacted to create PESOs across strategic areas in the country to serve as a venue for Filipinos to explore employment opportunities and other labor market information. It also provides for training activities, certification tests, career guidance, and job referral services.

To date, there are PESOs in 75 provinces, 142 cities, and 1,374 municipalities in the country.

Collectively, PESOs may be credited for up to 4.45 million job placements between 2010 and 2013.

"We saw how these offices become instrumental in minimizing unemployment and underemployment. The success of select PESOs should be replicated in more areas of the country. We want each local government unit (LGU) to have its own PESO," Angara said.

SB 1386 seeks to create PESOs in all provinces, municipalities, cities and other strategic areas throughout the country, and to ensure their continued operation and sustainability through the support of the LGUs and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The proposed measure also mandates PESOs to form a national network for the generation of labor market information to allow for more efficient, effective, timely gathering, processing and dissemination down to the grass roots level.

"Sa madaling salita, pinapatibay ng panukalang batas ang PESO bilang katuwang ng DOLE sa lokal para sa paghahain ng employment facilitation services. Ang PESO rin ang magiging pangunahing opisina sa ilalim ng lahat ng LGU na tututok para intindihin at hanapan ng solusyon ang mga isyung may kinalaman sa labor market," he said.

Based on the April 2014 Labor Force Survey, 2.9 million Filipinos are unemployed while seven million are underemployed.

The survey further showed that 62 percent or around 1.8 million of the unemployed had a high school diploma, a post-secondary certificate or a bachelor’s degree.

"Ironically, even our graduates are hounded by joblessness. According to studies, it can take 18 months up to two years before new college graduates can land a job," the senator said.

In addition, according to DOLE, one out of every four job vacancies are considered hard-to-fill or openings that either have too few applicants or those that attract a large number of applicants but are unqualified for the job.

"The prevalence of jobs-skills mismatch in the country is very alarming. I can't stress enough the need for us to create more and better jobs not only for the 10 million Filipinos who are either unemployed or underemployed, but more so for the thousands of young Filipinos who enter our labor force every year," he added.

"Sa kabila ng ating malakas na ekonomiya, marami pa rin ang naiiwan sa kahirapan at kawalan ng trabaho. Kaya marapat na i-arangkada pa lalo ang mga proyekto’t polisiya ng gobyerno para tulungan ang bawat mamamayan upang makahanap ng trabaho. Malaki ang maitutulong ng pag-amyenda sa PESO law sa adhikaing ito," concluded Angara.

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