Villanueva: Enterprise-based education and training to boost gov’t effort to address unemployment

Reacting to the decrease in unemployment rate in February, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva stressed the need for an institutionalized enterprise-based education and training program to boost the government’s effort in providing more employment opportunities for Filipinos.


The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a decrease in the unemployment rate from 4.5% or 2.15 million in January 2024 to 3.5% or 1.8 million in February 2024, which is lower from the 4.8 % or 2.47 million in February of the previous year. The PSA also reported a decrease in underemployment from 13.9% in January to 12.4% in February 2024.


“We are formulating a comprehensive set of labor policies targeting both the demand and supply sides of the labor market to effectively address the persistent issue of unemployment and underemployment,” stated the majority leader.


“Bukod po sa pagsiguro na may trabahong naghihintay sa bawat Pilipino, kailangan rin po nating siguruhin ang kakayahan ng ating mga manggagawa para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng industriya,” he added.


Villanueva, the prime mover of the Trabaho Para Sa Bayan or Republic Act No.11962, principally sponsored and authored the Enterprise-Based Education and Training (EBET) Framework Act in the Senate last March 5, 2024. This legislation was highlighted as a priority measure of the Marcos administration during the last Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting.


“We are grateful to the President for recognizing the significance of our proposed game-changing measure and for urging both Houses of Congress to prioritize it,” expressed the majority leader.


Senate Bill No. 2587 or the EBET Framework Act, aims to bridge the gap between the rapidly evolving needs of industries and the requisite skills of employees.


“This measure is the key to solving the problem of unending job-skills mismatch, which is a factor in the volatility of our unemployment and underemployment rates.  Institutionalizing the EBET will address the inability of education to catch up with evolving technology and digitalization of industries in the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0,” Villanueva said.


Enterprise-based training is seen as one of the top drivers of employment among tech-voc courses, with In-Company Training and Learnership having the highest employment rates over other forms of training ranging from 86.26% to 91.14% based on the 2020 and 2021 Studies on the Employment of Tech-voc graduates.


According to the proposed measure, the EBET Framework Act will “strengthen, rationalize, and harmonize programs, such as apprenticeship, learnership, and the dual training system, under an EBET framework, which shall be competency-based and industry-driven, and with due regard to the rights and occupational safety and health of trainees, through the active participation of employers, trainees, technical-vocational institutions, and the government.”


“The objective is to unify all modes of enterprise-based training programs under one framework to enhance the skills of our new entrants to the labor force and to upskill those already employed, ensuring their employability and meeting the demands of the rapidly evolving world of work,” Villanueva emphasized.


Villanueva, the former Secretary of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), also pointed out the importance of engaging the private sector as an indispensable partner in developing modules and competency standards in carrying out EBET programs.


“Let our jobseekers learn directly from industry experts. The involvement of our industry partners is crucial in ensuring that skills and competencies align with their requirements,” concluded the majority leader.