Improved private sector participation in technical education to boost employment

The Philippines must improve private sector participation in technical and vocational education (TVET) in an effort to increase employability of TVET graduates, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
 
\PIDS revealed that despite the high labor demand, only 34 percent of technical and vocational institution  graduates found employment and only 26 percent consider their training useful for their job.

“Firms possess information about the skills that they need; therefore, their participation is valuable. Improvement in this regard is not just supplying TVET training services to TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) but also in setting priorities,” it noted.
        
The study said strengthening the role of the private sector in the allocation of TVET resources could be an option.
        
It cited as an example the arrangement between the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and TESDA.

This allows the former to set scholarship vouchers with higher employment rate requirement for the BPAP in-house trained (80 percent) compared to 50 percent for those trained by other TVIs not affiliated with BPAP.

To improve the performance of the TVET subsector, the study noted that it is time to revive proposals of changing the role of TESDA from a direct service provider to standard regulator and enabler of other more efficient providers.
 
“The vision is for TESDA’s current responsibility as a training provider to migrate to other institutions, preferably the private sector, in order for TESDA to focus on standard setting and regulation free from distractions and inappropriate entanglements,” it said.

An important reform is the development of an explicit and credible targeting system, maybe an analogous and adapted version of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) program.

“Targeting a good proportion of TESDA subsidies to conditional cash transfer beneficiaries might be a good start -one that would support the administration convergence policy,” it added.

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DOTC to introduce eco-friendly jeepneys

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is taking steps to  introduce a new breed of jeepneys that runs either on eco-friendly electricity or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
 
DOTC Undersecretary for Project Implementation and Special Concerns Efren Moncupa said  the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has approved the franchises of the first 20 e-jeepneys, which ply three different Makati green routes — Legaspi Village, Salcedo Village, and Heritage Village loops.
 
The new e-jeepneys run on electricity, which is less costly than diesel and does not contribute to air pollution. The Pinoy jeepney, which has been a boon to the Filipino culture but a bane to the environment for its reputation of being a smoke belcher, is set to get a much-needed reinvention, one that would make it more eco-friendly.
 
Apart from the franchises the LTFRB has started granting for e-jeepneys, the DOTC have likewise started talks with various transport groups to convince their members to switch to these environmentally-friendly modes of transport.
 
The jeepney transport group, Pasang Masda, has proposed the adoption of a 21-seater e-jeepney that costs around P450,000 to P500,000, Moncupa said.
 
The DOTC is also looking to promote jeepneys whose engine will run on efficient and eco-friendly liquefied petroleum gas. He said the DOTC is now in talks with a local supplier of LPG-run engines.
 
The move to reinvent jeepneys  is part of the DOTC’s initiative to promote clean air in the country by coming up with programs for the transport sector that will significantly reduce air pollution.
 
Earlier, DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas said the DOTC is also eyeing to steadily reduce the age limits of PUVs over time. Currently, buses have a 15-year old age limit; taxis, 13 years; and AUVs, multicab, and vans, 10 years.
 
The DOTC also forged a partnership with the University of the Philippines (UP) seeking for assistance in conducting research on environmentally sustainable transport policies.
 
These initiatives should help the country improve its environmental performance index, said DOTC spokesman Atty. Nic Conti.
 
The biennial environmental performance index (EPI) prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities ranked the Philippines 42nd among 132 countries categorized as a global “strong performer” in environmental performance.
 
The EPI, a project of the World Economic Forum in Geneva and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Italy, is a method of quantifying and numerically benchmarking a country’s performance on its environmental policies.
 
The move to promote e-jeepneys, LPG-engines, and younger fleet age for public utility vehicles should result in improvements in the amount of total suspended particulates, the measurement used to gauge air pollution.
 
“The country already recorded a 30-percent drop in the amount of total suspended particulates from 166 µg/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter) in June 2010, to 116 µg/Ncm towards as of end of last year,” he said.
 
“With these initiatives, as well as the LTO’s continued implementation of vehicle emission standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, we should be on our way to the normal standard set for TSP by the World Health Organization, which is 90 µg/Ncm,” said Atty Conti.

Filipino exporters encouraged to tap Chinese market

A top official of the Business Once Global Trade Center (BOGTC) has encouraged Filipino exporters to tap the huge Chinese market, the world’s second largest economy with over a billion population.
BOGTC chief executive officer Henry Huang said business opportunities abound particularly for manufacturers of furniture, fashion accessories, home decors, processed fruit and seafood.
Chinese consumers prefer to buy imported products particularly something with quality as buyers have issues against their locally-made products, such as problems in safety, credibility and quality.
To effectively tap the Chinese market, Huang advised Filipino exporters to establish good linkage with Chinese traders through participating in shows and conferences specifically designed for imported products such as the Business One GTC.
 
China is likewise expected to have an increasing demand for imported goods owing to its rapidly growing middle-class market and more affluent lifestyles.
Other Chinese sectors that offer tremendous opportunities are garments and agriculture, particularly farm and fishery exports.
Philippine furniture makers and Christmas décor producers intend to focus on China as well as other countries which are part of the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) emerging markets group.

ICT programs to generate USD50 billion for the Philippine economy

The Philippine government has mapped out various development programs for the information communications technology (ICT) industry, including stepping-up the value chain, designed to enable the sector to achieve the $50-billion target contribution to the economy by 2016.

 Alejandro P. Melchor III, deputy executive director for ICT Industry Development of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) told the meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Inc. (AmCham) that under the value-chain program, the Philippines intends to become market leader in the United Kingdom and Australia in voice business process outsourcing (BPO).

“We aim to harness Philippine competitive advantages to attain world leadership in four more fast growing services and double our market share in three others,” he noted.

Melchor identified the four fast growing services as healthcare information management outsourcing, finance and accounting outsourcing, human resource outsourcing and creative process outsourcing.
“Philippine healthcare outsourcing segment grew by 172 percent in 2011 and we can be a global leader in this estimated $65-billion opportunity,” he said.

Melchor is optimistic that the Philippines has a competitive advantage to dominate this offshoring opportunity, with its large talent pool of certified nurses. 

Oher fast growing services which the country aims to double its market share are information technology (IT) outsourcing, engineering services outsourcing and multilingual BPO.

“Filipino IT professionals are becoming a global brand; actively recruited by other countries,” he noted.
Other development programs created for the ICT industry are talent development, Next Wave Cities, domestic ICT industry development, ICT-enabled creative industries development, and ICT marketing and research.

The ICT workforce capability development program aims to augment efforts of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and support programs of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP).

Such program intends to triple the size of ICT talent pool by 2016, improve the employability by 200 percent and develop the core skills required by the industry, he said.

A public-private partnership for ICT (iPPP) initiative was recently launched to boost the government and private sector collaboration in the development of the ICT sector.