/ 23 October 2020

TWO bills have been filed at the House of Representatives seeking to protect and empower out-of-school youth.

House Bill 66 filed by Tarlac 2nd District Rep. Victor Yap and House Bill 98 filed by Nueva Ecija 1st District Rep. Estrellita Suansing and Sultan Kudarat 2nd District Rep. Horacio Suansing Jr. aim to provide a Magna Carta for out-of-school youth.

Both bills cited the 2017 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey that showed nine percent of the estimated 39.2 million Filipinos aged 6 to 24 were not studying in schools.

The primary reasons for not attending school were marriage or family matters, lack of personal interest and high cost of education.

“Most, if not all, of the out-of-school youth belong to the marginalized sector of society, making them vulnerable and often subjected to discrimination and becoming victims of abuse and violence,” the lawmakers said in their explanatory note.

“While we endeavor to give every Filipino an opportunity to attend and finish school, we must also ensure that those who are not able to are being treated fairly,” Yap said.

The measures mandate the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education to institute a program that will ensure access of out-school-youth to formal and non-formal education.

The bills emphasized that “it shall be the duty of the State to provide technical or vocational education to the out-of-school youth.”

Under the bills, an alternative learning system of education shall be made available to out-of-school youth in barangay or villages.

The measures also mandate the Department of Labor and Employment to assess, design and implement training programs that will provide skills and welfare or livelihood support for out-of-school youth.