Agriculture can provide jobs for young Pinoys, says DoLE

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By Anna Valmero

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA—The agriculture sector can generate enough jobs for young Filipinos ages 15 to  24 years old, according to  Department of Labor and Employment undersecretary Lourdes Trasmonte.

Unemployment rate for the youth segment is pegged at 17.6 percent or more than double the 7.6 percent unemployment rate in the Philippines. Transmonte calls this “alarming” since the country has a dominantly young population of around 18.2 million.

Entrepreneurship and technical vocational skills are key to generate employment for our youth and to prevent migration to other countries,” she said. “We will focus on agriculture since the country is strong in this area by tapping indigenous coconut byproducs, muscovado and mushroom production, among others.”

Trasmonte added that improving agricultural products could help drive growth for country especially when the youth are anjoined to take careers in the agri sector instead of working overseas.

According to a 2011 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the “collective frustration” of the youth has been a controbuting factor to protest movements worldwide this year as it becomes increasingly difficult to find anything other than part-time or temporary work.

Trasmonte also highlighted the importance of giving education and equipping students with important life skills.

“Education is a first step to decent work and employment opportunities second. In the Philippines, the drop-out rate at the public secondary education level is high. Only four graduate for every ten students that enter first year high school,” he said.

DoLE and the United Nations have partnered in offering entrepreneurship skills training for for out-of-school youth (OSY) and students at risk of dropping-out (SARDO) as an intervention.

Provincial youth development plans have been implemented in low-income areas of Maguindanao, Antique, Masbate and Agusan Del Sur with at least 2,400 OSYs getting entrepreneuship training for the next ten months.

Meanwhile, at least 500 students in the past academic year benefited from educational subsidies in the four provinces. First-year high school teachers are also trained to teach entrepreneurship during classes enhanced with gender, life skills and safe migration.

Studies show that most young overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are between the ages 20- to 24-years-old while two out of three OFWs are women.

While migration brings significant economic benefits, it also entails social costs. First, children of migrant workers are left in the care of surrogate parents and are reported to contribute to a high-drop-out rate due to a diminishing interest to finish school or build a career.

There is also a tendency for the youth to be overly dependent on remittances and are enticed to join parents to work overseas, said Trasmonte.

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