Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) – A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to provide 200 hours of free skills training for everyone, including displaced workers and those who were formerly imprisoned.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, filed House Bill No. 7671 or “The 21st Century Skills Act”.
Under the proposed measure, a National Skills Development Program will be established to “provide universal access to annual training programs.” It will focus on job training for emerging or resilient industries.
“This will help modernize our outlook on labor from merely protecting jobs with mere regulation, notwithstanding trends in the economy that could render such jobs useless, to protecting workers by making them ready for the ever-changing jobs of the 21st century,” it says.
The bill states that Filipinos above 15 years old are entitled to a Skills Development Account (SDA). Aside from the 200 hours of free training under programs by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), there will be support services for SDA holders who lost their jobs or seeking to reenter the workforce after imprisonment.
The support services include living allowance while training, childcare allowance if applicable, transportation allowance, training materials allowance, and career counseling.
The measure also aims to establish a national database that would match skilled workers with labor demand.
“The trainings themselves will be formulated based on labor market demand, as reflected in the annual skills demand reports at the regional and national level,” the bill states. “The database will also be used for formulating national industry and labor policy, and programs to create higher-pay skilled jobs in the economy.”