Davao City Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles has helped steer the passage of a priority measure in the House of Representatives instituting reforms in the country’s labor training program, with the aim of improving the competitiveness and skills of Filipino manpower, particularly the youth.
In his capacity as chairperson of the House committee on labor and employment, Nograles sponsored and helped defend the consolidated measure, House Bill 5303, during the plenary debates on the bill’s second reading.
Nograles is the vice president for internal affairs of the National Unity Party (NUP).
The bill, a consolidation of HBs 221, 1594 and 2227, is collectively authored by Nograles, Cebu City Rep. Rodrigo A. Abellanosa, OFW Party-list Representatives Juan Johnny R. Revilla and Roy V. Señeres, Sr., Diwa Party-list Rep. Emmeline Y. Aglipay, , Ang Nars Party-list Rep. Leah S. Paquiz, Cibac Party-list Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales, and Parañaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting.
The measure provides for apprenticeship centers accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for highly technical industries.
It also provides aspiring workers on-the-job opportunities in highly technical industries. Upon completing the training, which will last for a maximum of six months, the certified trainees can then be absorbed by companies for regular employment.
The bill is considered a priority measure by the business sector to make Filipino workers globally competitive in the midst of stepped-up efforts to economically integrate the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by this year.
Under HB 5303, work trainees should be issued training certificates attesting that they have completed the apprenticeship program, comparable to the completion of a training program in a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institution, and the award of equivalent unit credits in the formal system of education.
The bill also states that the contributions to the training allowance by government agencies and/or non-government organizations shall be considered in computing the training allowances of apprentices presently placed at seventy-five percent (75%) of the minimum wage.
HB 5303 also sets the grounds, and the rules and procedures for the termination of the apprenticeship agreement.
The bill also includes a provision on compulsory apprenticeship in certain occupations when national security or requirements of economic development so demand.
It also provides apprentices accident and disability insurance coverage, which should be shouldered by the participating centers or employers.
On the part of employers, HB 5303 provides as incentive an additional deduction from the gross income, instead of taxable income, of one-half (1/2) of the labor training expenses, provided that: a) the employer shall be exempt from the payment of apprenticeship fee, and b) such deduction shall not exceed ten percent (10%) of the training allowance of the apprentices instead of the direct labor wages.