THE government is eyeing to pump in additional cash for its youth-oriented program next year to address the negative impact of the pandemic on the country’s next-generation work force.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) made the pronouncement as youth unemployment, particularly of senior high-school graduates, continued to rise during the first quarter of the year.
In a Viber message, Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay told the BusinessMirror they will be requesting P840 million for their “Tier 1” Government Internship Program (GIP) next year.
DOLE will also propose an additional P3.7 billion for their regular GIP and P120.9-million budget for their JobStart program for 2022.
The GIP provides qualified youth beneficiaries with temporary employment in government offices through DOLE, while JobStart provides trainings and on-the-job training to disadvantaged youths.
For this year, DOLE’s budget for GIP is only at P637.7 million, while its JobStart funding is only at P41.4 million.
“We have requested for additional funds to ensure skills acquisition [of the youth] towards 2022,” Tutay said.
SHE said this is part of interventions for the growing number of youth who are now having a hard time getting employed as the Covid-19 crisis led to the closure of thousands of establishments.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Tutay noted the number of unemployed senior high students last March reached 325,000, which is higher than that from 2019 (107,000) and 2020 (231,000).
“I would say [that] between now and maybe next year, it is going to be a tight labor market for the new entrants to the labor force, including the K-to-12 graduates since they will be competing with those who are unemployed and overseas Filipino workers,” Tutay said.
Aside from employment opportunities, DOLE also expressed concern on how online learning will affect the quality of the country future workers.
“There will be challenges for those students who have been deprived now of such opportunity like use of connectivity and communications. This is on top of the effects of mental anxiety for being quarantined at home for over a year already,” Tutay said.
The labor official pointed out the trend could impact the “fruits of the country’s demographic dividend”—where its large work force will lack the necessary skills to be employed if not addressed by the government.
“We see the impact [of Covid-19] will be long term and will last not just year or the next, but in the next 10 to 20 years. We project it will affect the kind and quality of the labor force,” Tutay said.