Senate to review programs empowering youth sector
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) – February 17, 2020 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will start tomorrow its review of the laws and programs for the youth to check if these have been effective and to find ways to improve these to further empower the sector.
The review was prompted by Senate Resolution 320, filed by committee on youth chairman Sen. Sonny Angara, which seeks to evaluate the efficacy of all existing government programs for the country’s youth “so that we’ll have an idea which ones are working and relevant and which are not.”
“We want an inventory and evaluation of the laws and programs for the youth because we have to know whether these are still worth continuing. There may be some laws that are no longer relevant and may have to be amended or even repealed already,” Angara said.
“On the other hand, I’m certain many of these laws are working well and we could provide them with more support either by providing additional funding or strengthening them through legislation,” he added.
He emphasized the importance of “investing in our youth” because the number of Filipinos aged 15 to 30 is projected to reach 30 million this year, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
This is one-third of the total population of the Philippines and, as such, the country’s direction will heavily rely on the capacity and potential of the youth.
Republic Act 8044 or the Youth in Nation-Building Act, which created the National Youth Commission, defines youth as persons aged 15 to 30 years old.
Even the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight the need to focus on youth participation, empowerment and/or wellbeing, Angara noted.
In line with the United Nations’ vision of investing in the youth to harness productive potential, the Philippines has enacted several laws aimed at empowering the Filipino youth.
These include Republic Act 10931 or the Free College Law, RA 10647 or the Ladderized Education Act, RA 10687 or the UniFAST Act, and RA 10665 or the Open High School System Act.
There are also existing government programs aimed at improving the standing of the Filipino youth, especially those who are employed or are seeking meaningful employment.
Among these are the Government Internship Program, JobStart Philippines Program, Special Program for Employment of Students, Labor Education for Graduating Students, and the Youth Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy Program.
“With several government programs for the youth already in place, it is only fitting that the next step would be to evaluate its existence in order to determine its impact among its beneficiaries and how it can be more beneficial to more Filipino youth,” Angara said in his resolution.
“We’ll find out if these are aligned with the SDGs. The youth are now more aware and involved in the efforts to improve the lives of the people and the health of the planet. They are the critical-thinkers, change-makers, innovators, communicators and future leaders of our country and as such the government should help ensure that they reach their full potential,” he added.