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Bill creating council to address labor issues referred to appropriations panel

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THE House Committee on Higher and Technical Education referred a measure on Tuesday creating a council to address the skills mismatch in the workforce, underemployment, and unemployment to the Appropriations committee to verify that the resulting initiative can be funded.

House Bill 979, filed by Baguio Rep. Mark O. Go, tasks the council with setting policy and developing programs to address gaps in the labor market.

The council, which will be attached to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), is composed of government, academic, and industry representatives.

Economists have blamed the shortage of in-demand skills for the expected rise in unemployment next year.

“There is no question that job skills mismatch, underemployment, and unemployment are a continuing problem,” CHED Chairman Prospero E. De Vera II said at the committee hearing.

He said, however, that CHED may not have the resources to support such a council because of its broad mandate which is not budgeted for.

He said various laws aimed at promoting education are not backed with budgets in the General Appropriations Act.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. asked CHED to propose a budget for the council.

The Committee on Appropriations will rule on the bill’s funding provisions. — Kyanna Angela Bulan

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