Despite the enactment of Republic Act No. 10968 or the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) Act to make Filipinos more competitive and employable, a strategic plan for its implementation is yet to be implemented.
Senator Win Gatchalian flagged this in Proposed Senate Resolution No. 15, which seeks an inquiry on the status of the implementation of the PQF Act. Gatchalian pointed out that there has been no significant progress on the adoption of programs and concrete actions to achieve the goals of the PQF Law. This may have a significant impact on the reforms that seek to improve the Philippine education sector, Gatchalian said.
A 2021 World Bank report affirmed that the implementation of the PQF is weak with limited utilization and evidence of labor market impact, despite having a robust framework. Based on the Labor Force Survey, the annual unemployment rate in 2021 reached 7.8% or about 3.7 million unemployed Filipinos and the annual underemployment rate was 15.9% or about 7 million underemployed Filipinos.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Lifelong Learning, in its country report, noted that PFQs are meant to address the unemployment and underemployment rates of the Philippines which are largely the result of a mismatch between the jobs on offer and the skills possessed by the workforce.
The PQF Act, which was signed into law in January 2018, seeks to adopt national standards and levels of learning outcomes of education. Designed in 2003 and adopted in 2012 to address the mismatch in jobs and skills, the PQF evolved from the Philippine Technical and Vocational Qualifications Framework (PTVQ) and was designed to harmonize basic education, technical and vocational education, and higher education into a nationwide unified framework of skills and competencies.
“Ipinasa natin ang PQF Law upang iangat ang competitiveness ng ating mga kababayan at matiyak ang kanilang kahandaan para sa trabaho. Ngunit dahil nakikita nating hindi naipapatupad nang maayos ang batas, napapanahon ang ating pagsusuri sa pagpapatupad nito, lalo na’t ang ating mga kababayan ang lubos na makikinabang rito,” said Gatchalian.
The lawmaker also pointed out that the members of the PQF-National Coordinating Council (NCC) are still not complete. The PQF-NCC was constituted to spearhead the law’s implementation. To strengthen the PQF, the World Bank recommended reinforcement of the core governance structure by completing the constitution of the PQF-NCC.