$12.5 Million Grants to Create Jobs, Improve Tourism in the Philippines

Creating jobs in industries driving growth in the Philippines is the focus of two $12.5 million grants that will improve service skills in the tourism sector and fund a pilot youth job placement program.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Creating more and better jobs in industries driving growth in the Philippines is the focus of two technical assistance (TA) grants worth more than $12.5 million that will fund a pilot youth job placement program and improve skills in the tourism sector.

“With the recent upsurge in the Philippine economy, this support will help match job-seekers’ skills with emerging industries to promote growth and ensure that the benefits are more inclusive and reach even more people,” said Neeraj Jain, ADB Philippine Country Director.

GDP growth in the Philippines reached 6.6% in 2012, lifted by robust consumption and investments, and was considered one of the strongest economic performances in the region. However, job creation has not kept pace.

The tourism sector holds great potential for growth, and has benefited from reforms begun in 2011 to open up Philippine airspace. A $7.0 million grant to the Department of Tourism, funded by the Canadian government, will test pilot projects in Bohol, Cebu, Davao, and Palawan that aim to reduce regulatory costs for tourism operators, improve hotel accreditation systems, and provide funding for skills development in the industry.

Another $5.5 million grant to the Department of Labor and Employment, also funded by the Canadian government, will connect vulnerable out-of-work youth to a job placement program called MyFirstJob, a pilot program that will provide high school leavers with career counseling, funding for vocational training, and work place experience. At least 1,600 youth – half of them women – are expected to participate in the pilot project.

The two TAs support implementation of reforms under the Increasing Competitiveness for Inclusive Growth program approved by the ADB Board of Directors in June 2012. The program aims to improve competitiveness of the Philippines economy and increase youth wage employment rates to 5% by 2019, up from a baseline of 3.4%.