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Kiko files Jobs Next Bill

Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez (Negros Occidental, 3rd District) has filed a Jobs Next Bill that aims to provide a skills voucher program for Filipinos to gain new and emerging skills for jobs of the future.

House Bill 9807 filed July 7, Wednesday, is similar to Singapore’s SkillsFuture program, which also aims to support companies in their upskilling programs, Benitez said Friday, July 9.

“The Jobs Next Bill seeks to encourage and incentivize worker upskilling and reskilling to stimulate innovation literacy; and support the labor force to adopt to technologies that have the potential to disrupt jobs,” Benitez said.

It aims to seamlessly integrate global skills trends with domestic industries’ skills through innovative transformation in high-quality training and skills development, he added.

Benitez stressed that it is necessary to harmonize policies and plans from different government agencies, and integrate industry needs and support to create a comprehensive roadmap that can be scaled at a nationwide level.

“Skills development is a prerequisite to a transition to a green and sustainable economic growth,” he said.

As the country slowly pivots to recovery measures, this presents a window of opportunity to rethink how economies and businesses will react and adapt to the “new normal,” Benitez said.

He pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant loss of human lives and caused tremendous economic and social disruption worldwide.

In the Philippines it has led to closure of businesses and millions of unemployed Filipinos he said.

In 2020, the unemployment rate rose to 10.3 percent, accounting for 4.5 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force whose skillsets can be utilized and maximized, given suitable training development and employment opportunities, Benitez said.*

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