Philippines: Alternatives to migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino youth


Despite high economic growth, the Philippines, with a fast-growing population, is not able to provide sufficient jobs to reduce poverty, and its education system cannot meet the skills requirements of growing industries. Some 1.46 million young people were unemployed in 2010, half of them with secondary school educations and 40 % with college degrees. 2.3 million more are in vulnerable employment, with inadequate earnings and social protection. In the search for decent work, many young Filipinos move from rural to urban areas, with some opting to go overseas.

The Joint Programme supported the Government's vision of a productive and competitive youth by working on two fronts: increasing access to decent jobs for young men and women in the country’s poorest areas, and improving policies on youth employment and migration by encouraging the participation of all stakeholders in the process.

It was implemented in four provinces with high migration rates and the highest incidences of out-of-school youth and poor youth, where the MDGs are least likely to be achieved – Masbate, Antique, Maguindanao and Agusan del Sur.

The programme focused on two outcomes:

  1. To improve policy coherence and implementation on youth, employment and migration through full stakeholder participation; and
  2. To increase access to decent work for poor young women and men through public-private partnerships, more inclusive basic education and life skills and career guidance, including on safe migration, vocational training and entrepreneurship.

Among specific initiatives, the programme provided training and materials on entrepreneurship, life skills and safe migration to teachers, out of school youth, local partner organizations and thousands of secondary schools. Hundreds of at-risk high school students were given educational subsidies to reduce drop-out rates in public schools.

Main achievements included:

  • The National Action Plan for Youth Employment and Migration (NAP YEM) was formulated. In preparation, the National Youth Council conducted a national assessment on the situation of Filipino youth. Three island-wide consultations (in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao) were organized under the leadership of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), bringing together youth leaders and community representatives to analyze gaps in existing employment and education policies. The findings of the consultations served as the basis for the development of the Strategy Paper ‘Alternative Pathways: towards Charting an Actionable Framework for Youth Employment and Migration’ which was adopted by the DOLE as part of the National Labour and Employment Plan.
  • The programme strengthened the capacities of the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to partner with different governance bodies and law enforcement agencies in rolling out the ‘Campaign against Illegal Recruitment, Trafficking and Irregular Migration.’  A significant achievement was the signing of a new MOU between the provincial governments in the pilot provinces, the POEA, the DOLE, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and other implicated agencies.   
  • Four pilot Model Mechanisms to channel remittances for local enterprises were developed among former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and families left behind. Capacity building and linkage activities were provided to returning migrants and families, including training and support for enterprise development initiatives to nearly 150 OFWs.
  • Given the high secondary school drop-out rate in the Philippines, in Agusan del Sur the programme provided an Education Subsidy aiming at increasing the participation and retention rates of disadvantaged youth. School fees and a monthly allowance were paid based on school attendance. The subsidy targeted 72 students in the academic year 2010-11 and 87 students in the year 2011-12.
  • The programme supported the development of Career Pathways-Technology and Livelihood Education (CP-TLE) courses at secondary education level, as well as gender-sensitive learning materials and life skills and safe migration training.   Entrepreneurship training was also extended to teachers, teacher trainers and supervisors in the four pilot provinces and 17 regions across the country. More than 2,700 students received tuition using the enriched first year level CP-TLE curriculum across the provinces, and 2,000 young people received technical vocational skills training.
  • Four Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Fora were conducted with the aim of increasing access to decent work for poor young men and women. These resulted in 115 partnership agreements and 115 commitments made by public and private sectors to provide on-the-job training and post training services for 2,000 youth.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in the Philippines.



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 30 Jul 2009 - 27 Jan 2013
Net funded amount $5,926,651
Participating UN agencies ILO, IOM, UNICEF, UNFPA
National partners Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Education (DepEd), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Provincial Local Governments of Antique, Masbate, Agusan Del Sur and Maguindanao
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