SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—This city has won a grant from foreign funding agencies for finding jobs for 98 percent of applicants under the Jobstart program.
This growth center of Central Luzon bested other pilot cities in the Jobstart placement program, beating Quezon City (97 percent), Caloocan City (90 percent), General Trias in Cavite and other cities.
The high placement rate was the effort of San Fernando’s Public Employment Service Office, which assisted the applicants in the different companies in the city that have invested around P50 billion in San Fernando—mostly manufacturing firms, banks, service companies, exporters, retailers and others.
Jobstart, which is funded by the Canadian government through the Asian Development Bank in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment and local government units, aims to reduce poverty and unemployment in the country.
In 2011, the DOLE requested the ADB for assistance to improve the country’s employment facilitation system and intervention in support of the PESO to defeat poverty and unemployment in the country.
The program was created with four pilot cities in Metro Manila and spread to the different regions of the country where poverty and unemployment is rampant. San Fernando joined the program in 2013.
Mayor Edwin D. Santiago said that from 2014 to 2016, 1,400 graduates were now employed in the different companies in the city through PESO.
Santiago, who arrived Monday after heading a two-day government delegation to Tokyo, said the graduates now have stable jobs based on their qualifications and the need of the industries operating in the city.
Under the program, graduates from 18 to 24 years of age underwent life value formation and technical skills for three months and an internship program based on the need of companies in the city with pay, the mayor said.
“This is why upon graduation they were immediately employed by these companies,” he said.
Santiago said during his visit to Tokyo with other government representatives, they visited several “Hello Work” areas through the help of their counterparts.
“Hello Work” is the Japanese Government Public Employment Service equivalent to the PESO, which is spread out in the provinces, cities and municipalities in the country.
“These Hello Work had efficient job replacement based on value formation, work ethic, discipline that we want to replicate in the city,” Santiago stressed.
Under the Japanese program, the government develops a working relationship, cooperation and unity with the companies, especially on their manpower needs.
“Japanese children, at an early age, are also taught the value of hard work and ethics by the government, and that if you work, you will eat forever,” he said.
Entrepreneurs in Japan, the population of which is getting old rapidly, and their workers are interested in putting up branches in San Fernando, provided the available manpower corresponds to their needs, the mayor added.
At present, 25 percent of Japan’s population is over the age 65, compared to just 16 percent of other countries like Canada. By 2060, 40 percent the total population of the country will be 65 years old, official statistics noted.