Opening address at the Year-end reception on youth employment “Ugnayan para sa kabataan: An appreciation and recognition night”

By Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Year-end reception on youth employment “Ugnayan para sa kabataan: An appreciation and recognition night”, Makati City, Philippines, 21 November 2012

Statement | Makati City, Philippines | 21 November 2012
  • Honourable Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz,
  • ILO constituents from the government, employers’ and workers’ organizations
  • Members of the diplomatic corps, partners from the international community and civil society,
  • Colleagues from the UN Country Team,
  • Youth leaders, ladies and gentlemen, magandang gabi sa inyong lahat (good evening to all of you)!

On behalf of the ILO Manila team, allow me to express my gratitude for taking the time out of your schedule to attend tonight’s event and for your support during the year.

I would like to thank our partners from the Philippine government, employers and workers organizations, both at the local and national levels as well as our international partners for their strong commitment and support towards the goal of achieving decent and productive work.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Rockwell Land and the Lopez Foundation; especially Oscar and Connie Lopez who are here with us, once again for the use of this lovely venue this evening.

Tonight’s theme highlights the importance of working together for the Filipino youth.

Here in the Philippines, there were over 18 million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 in 2011; more than 1.4 million were among the ranks of the unemployed despite their investment in education.

However, often overlooked and in the shadows, were nearly 2.4 million vulnerably employed youth.

The vulnerably employed youth are often forced to cut their education short, in order to create or accept whatever forms of work are available in order to provide for their families and loved ones.

Because they often have poor educational attainment and lack the necessary training they’re often forest into low productivity work, which is poorly paid and lack any social protection which would include social security and PhilHealth.

In response, the Philippines with DOLE as lead government agency has partnered with the ILO, IOM, UNICEF and UNFPA towards improving policy coherence on youth employment.

The project was made possible through the Spanish Government under the UN MDG Achievement Fund.

Programmes that directly impact the lives of young people were implemented at both national and local levels.

The team assisted more than 18,000 disadvantaged in-school and out-of school youth, teachers, government partners, and families.

Some of the the youth were family members of Overseas Filipino Workers, and returning migrant workers in the provinces of Antique, Masbate, Agusan Del Sur and Maguindanao.

Tonight, we will take a moment to recognize a few of these young people that have shown the desire and willingness to invest in their futures.

Some of these young people, despite the odds, have become living testimonies to the unlimited potential of the Filipino youth when given the opportunities.

We will also recognize our private sector partners who have been working closely with the TESDA in bringing its graduates a step closer to fulfil their dreams of decent and productive employment.

By working together, we have witnessed that we were able to achieve more.

The joint programme is just one of the partnerships in the Philippines that reaches out especially to the most vulnerable.

In 2012, we’ve renewed our partnership with the Embassy of Finland on indigenous peoples.

We’ve strengthened our collaboration with the US Department of Labor on the fight against the worst forms of child labour; the US Department of State on freedom of association; the European Union on migration and human trafficking as well as decent work indicators; the Japanese Government on peace, local economic development and green jobs; the Swedish Government on gender equality, domestic workers and freedom of association; the Korean Government on industrial policies; and the Spanish Government not only on youth employment but also exclusive breastfeeding in the work place and climate change adaptation all through the MDG F Joint Programmes.

We have also opened doors of partnership with AusAID on livelihoods and emergency employment after Tropical Storm Washi and on green jobs.

Beginning shortly, we will work with the Bangsamoro Development Agency on sustainable livelihoods, peace-building and local economic development in partnership with the World Bank under the Mindanao Trust Fund.

At this juncture, I’m hopeful that with further collaboration with our international, national and local partners we can sustain gains and scale up initiatives that have proven successful in our support to the Philippine Development Plan and the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan.

As the ILO moves forward to 2013, we will continue to support the country in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth through decent and productive work.

Through collaboration, openness and transparent partnership, we will work towards building on experiences to help place the Philippines among the next generation of tiger economies in Asia

Our effort will focus on promoting sustainable livelihoods and enterprises; supporting decent work which is at the foundation of improving productivity and competitiveness; improving workers and employers’ access to safety and health; expanding social protection especially to vulnerable groups and migrant workers; supporting government efforts to upgrade labour market institutions and employment services; intensifying the fight against child labour through convergence; promoting youth employment; enhancing social dialogue; improving local capacity to implement labour standards – such as recently ratified Conventions on seafarers ID, maritime and domestic workers.

As I end, let me acknowledge Ruth Georget and the ILO Manila team who worked hard to organize this event.

Again, it is by working together that we can achieve more, so let me take this opportunity not only to welcome you but also to thank all of you for another productive year. I look forward to our continued collaboration.

Finally, on behalf of the ILO Manila team, allow me to be the first to wish you and your families’ happy holidays.

Enjoy the rest of the evening. Thank you and Mabuhay!