The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing the Philippine government with $12.7 million worth of grants to fund a pilot youth job placement program and improve skills in the country’s tourism sector.
In a statement, Neeraj Jain, ADB Philippine country director, said that the loan is under the bank’s two technical assistance grants aimed at creating more and better jobs in industries driving growth in the Philippines.
“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,” Jain said.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached 6.6 percent in 2012, lifted by robust consumption and investments, and was considered one of the strongest economic performances in the region.
However, the ADB noted that job creation has not kept pace of economic expansion.
The bank said the tourism sector holds great potential for growth, and has benefited from reforms begun in 2011 to open up Philippine airspace.
Of the total amount of the grants, the ADB is providing the $7 million to the Department of Tourism to 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.
ADB said another $5.5 million grant will be given to the Department of Labor and Employment to 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 grants support implementation of reforms under the Increasing Competitiveness for Inclusive Growth program approved by the ADB Board of Directors in June 2012.