Bill on job-skills mismatch hurdles final reading in Senate

Patty Pasion
Bill on job-skills mismatch hurdles final reading in Senate

Senate Bill 1456 or the proposed Philippine Qualifications Framework Act aims to bring together labor market and education stakeholders to craft an integrated system that prevents job-skills mismatch

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, December 11, passed on third and final reading a bill that seeks to address the problem of job mismatch in the country.

Senate Bill 1456 or the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) Act of 2017 aims to help job seekers get employment.  

Work is available in the Philippines but job seekers often find it hard to get a position due to job mismatch and poor qualifications.  SB 1456 seeks to seal this gap by bringing together labor market and education stakeholders to craft an integrated system that prevents skills mismatch. 

The measure is authored by Senator Joel Villanueva who chairs the Senate committee on labor and employment.

The PQF is a standardized framework that “describes the level of educational qualifications and set the standards for qualification outcomes.” 

It ensures that “training and educational institutions comply with specific standards and are accountable for achieving corresponding learning outcomes,” the bill said. 

It will also provide employees with “specific training standards and qualifications aligned with industry standards.” 

Under the proposal, a PQF-National Coordinating Council (NCC) will be established to create a “seamless education and training system” across all educational levels – elementary, secondary, tertiary and technical vocational courses. 

The council will be chaired by the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary and will have as members the following:

  • Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) secretary
  • Commission on Higher Education chairperson
  • Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general
  • Professional Regulation Commission chairperson
  • Representative from the economic sector

Members of the industry sector should also be consulted to ensure the alignment of industry requirements in setting capacity-building policies and targets, the bill said. 

DOLE has pointed out that skills mismatch and poor qualification are among the top reasons for the low hiring rate of about 9% in its previous job fairs. (READ: PH labor mismatch due to lack of jobs road map – advocates

Villanueva, who served as TESDA chief during the Aquino administration, explained that the PWF will provide a “clear picture of the competencies they need for the jobs they want while employers can easily identify the competencies their employees must possess.” 

Aside from local employment, the PQF will also facilitate easier labor migration, especially in the context of the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

The ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework, which allows the comparison of educational qualifications across the region, was established in 2016 and has since influenced member-states to develop their national qualification frameworks. 

“Due to greater mobility of people – students, workers, professionals are moving, the question is whether their qualifications are also the same as the qualifications of other countries,” Villanueva said. 

“In countries with their own qualification frameworks like Singapore, our OFWs can now have their eligibility matched with that of Singaporeans and other foreign workers, and now earn the position, salaries and benefits befitting their status and accomplishments,” he added. –

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.