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Philippines Country Information

Philippines Country Director:
Lucila Bance
Counseling and Career Center
University of Santo Tomas

Philippine Economic Growth through Overseas Migration & Remittances: A look at an immigrant labor force from the home country perspective by Fernando T. Aldaba, Ph.D.

Official statistics show that remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) reached an all time high of US$ 31.29 billion in 2017. Many economists agree that these large transfers which continually surpassed Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows have actually fuelled Philippine economic growth for the last two decades. Remittances have also catalyzed the development of sectors that currently contribute the most to the country's domestic output. These include food manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, real estate and renting, transport and communication, and private construction. And of course, these flows have made consumption expenditure stable over the last several years. Finally, remittances have become an automatic stabilizer to the macroeconomy, increasing in volume during crisis situations.

While the growth rate of remittances has plateaued to around 4-5% in the last few years, these transfers will still be a sustainable source of domestic demand in the next decade. Skilled Filipino workers and professionals will continue to explore the global labor market as long as huge wage differentials exist vis-à-vis the local labor market. With greater labor mobility being allowed within ASEAN and within other trading partners, our highly competitive workers will continue to reap higher and better returns on their human capital.

Some economists meanwhile suggest that remittances may have spawned a dependency problem at both the household and macroeconomic levels. Household members rely solely on the incomes of their OFW and lose interest in joining the labor force and finding work. Meanwhile the national government can be lulled by the bonanza of these inflows such that needed economic policy reforms may be delayed. While these arguments continue to be debated in various forums, what should be immediately done is to transform a large portion of the savings of the overseas workers into productive investments. Philippine domestic capital formation as percentage of national income has remained relatively low as compared to the original ASEAN member countries. Financial literacy must be implemented and innovative financial products introduced to harness the increased savings accumulation by these overseas workers so as to expand domestic investments. This will further help sustain the economic expansion.

And so, are remittances a boon or a bane in terms of the Philippine macroeconomy? We see it as a key source of economic growth today and in the next few years. What is good today is that the sources of economic expansion continue to be diversified. The Information Technology — Business Process Outsourcing sector also continues to accelerate. And more recently, the manufacturing and tourism sectors have also been performing well. At the same time, government must finally accept that international migration cannot be ignored in the formulation of economic policy and should devise a specific migration and development strategy. Remittances will continue to be a critical growth driver in the next few years. All said, the Philippines should be able to continue its journey to higher levels of economic growth in the next decade, being already one of the top performers in Asia.

Dr. Fernando T. Aldaba is the Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines. Dr. Aldaba served as President of the Philippine Economic Society and the Civil Society Resource Institute. He was also an Asia Research and Advocacy Advisor of the Catholic Institute for International Relations, a London-based NGO and the Secretary-General of a coalition of labor federations), the Lakas Manggagawa Labor Center and a coalition of development NGO networks or CODE-NGO. Dr. Aldaba obtained his Ph.D. in Economics and his M.A. in Economics from the University of the Philippines.

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Report on Career Development in the Philippines by Lucila O. Bance

In response to the high incidence of youth unemployment in the country, the government approved a convergent program that aims to address the pressing issue of jobs-skills mismatch. A robust working group (WG) was established to develop an inter-agency Career Advocacy Plan intended to immerse parents and students in the realities of the labor market supplemented by the use of Phil Job Net and Labor Market Information (LMI). The WG consisted of the following: Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); Department of Education (DepEd); Department of Science and Technology (DOST); Commission on Higher Education (CHED); Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); and Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Additionally, the enhancement of academic-industry linkages has ensured that standards, policies and guidelines set by the government are regularly monitored through accreditation of academic programs for sustained implementation of career programs and services. Aside from the government's WG for Career Advocacy Plan, professional organizations do their significant part in the career development in the country, such as Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association of the Philippines (PGCA), Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), Career Development Association of the Philippines (CDAP), Association of Placement Practitioners of Colleges and Universities (APPCU) and Integrated Professional Counseling Association of the Philippines (IPCAP).


Ms. Sonia Mendoza, MA, CDAP President

CDAP celebrated its Ruby Anniversary in its 40th Annual Conference last November 16-17, 2017 with the theme "Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present and Transforming for the Future." International figures in Career Development from different countries shared their practices. Dr. Concepcion Umali, Dean International Academy of New Zealand, Dr. Richard Knowdell, President of Career Research and Testing, Inc., Dr. Brian Schwartz, Founder and Chairman, Suzhou Success Partners Management, Consulting Co., Mr. Allan Gatenby, Chair Institute of Career Certification International.

Filipino speakers also enticed the audience in listening and participating in the program with the following resource persons: Dr. Josefina Santamaria, CDAP Founding President, Dr. Luzviminda Guzman, Philippine Regulation Board of Guidance & Counseling Board Chairman, Atty. Pilar Almira, President, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Mr. Ramon Segismundo, President, People Management Association of the Philippines, Dr. Imelda Villar, CPD Chair, Board of Psychology and last but not the least, Dr. Lucila Bance, Director, Counseling & Career Center, University of Santo Tomas.

The organization established partnership with and contributed much on its nation-wide event, the Career Awareness and Readiness (CARES) Program with several runs in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. The program was nominated in the 14th TAYO (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations) Awards.

CDAP also joined the Technical Working Group of SEAMEO INNOTECH and Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) for their career pathing and career mapping projects. CDAP also participated in PESO/DOLE Consultation and Orientation Seminars on youth employment. It prepared Motivational Training Program for students of Vittana, an NGO that provides educational assistance for youth. Through a partnership with Servicio Filipino, Inc. (SFI) Group of Companies, CDAP was additionally involved in various projects such as the Training of Career Advocates, PESO Managers, Learning Series for the Feeder Schools of Asia Pacific College.

SFI also prepared a KeyTrain program in developing foundational skills of 259 selected third year high school students in Bataan. Research showed significant improvement of participants' foundational workplace skills in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information, which have implications for education, career development as well as curriculum development. The assessment tool used is a comprehensive talent profile that identifies the key strengths and weaknesses of students, trainees and workforce in the context of their career preferences and workplace competencies. The results of this tool may be utilized for curriculum enhancement purposes and the creation/enhancement of career guidance programs and services that address the career-readiness skills of students.

CDAP's Mid-year Conference was held on May 24-25, 2018 at Hotel Benilde with the Theme: "Spectrum for Success: A Career Paradigm Shift for Philennials".


Carla Siojo, MA, APPCU Vice-President

The 10th Anniversary and 8th Annual Convention of APPCU took place at St. Scholastica's College, Manila on 8-9 March 2018. The event convened placement practitioners, career guidance practitioners, guidance counselors, career guidance advocates from colleges and universities and HR practitioners from industry to increase their knowledge of workforce trends in this era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Participants were exposed to learning sessions that aimed to hone and develop skills in personal branding, meta-coaching, networking and use of big data in order to efficiently and effectively perform their duties and responsibilities and improve existing career services.

The theme of the Convention, "10 to the Next 10: APPCU Surges Ahead!" affirmed the 10-year old existence of APPCU, and the challenge for the organization to surge forward to the next 10 years! The Convention also affirmed APPCU's commitment in developing 21st century skills of placement practitioners in order to remain relevant and effective in helping students transition from school to a competitive global workplace and in bridging the gap between the existing jobs and skills mismatch. The event was sponsored by ServeHappy Jobs and Globe Telecom, Inc.

The invited resource speakers from industry and academe for the 2-day event received excellent ratings from the participants. The speakers and topics included: Grace Abella-Zata, President, Corporate Executive Search, Inc., who talked about "Hiring Potential Talents for the Workforce"; Maria Luz C. Vilches, Ph.D., Vice President for the Loyola Schools, Atene de Manila University, who gave "A Response from the Academe on Preparing Potential Talents for the Workforce"; Tisha Rosales, Meta-Coach from BreakFree Workshop gave a plenary workshop on "Harnessing the Power of Corporate Personal Branding"; Julius Paras, Senior Vice President, Customer Engagement and Country Manager of Kalibrr, talked about "Making Big Data Work for You and gave Alumni Engagement Insights from the Ivy League"; Florence T. Ladion, RGC, Financial Consultant and Assistant Unit Manager at Prulife, UK, shared the importance of "Networking as an Art of Establishing Partnerships"; and Marie Geraldine R. Samson, Meta-Coach at BreakFree Workshop shared "The Basics of Meta-Coaching."

Overall, the Convention was informative, interesting and enriching. The knowledge and best practices shared by the resource speakers inspired the participants to improve their placement and career practice. The Convention also provided an avenue to connect and reconnect with those who work at colleges and universities and facilitate the nation's young people realizing meaningful employment.

Builing a Model Counseling and Career Center in the Philippines by USAID STRIDE

Lucila O. Bance, PhD, Director, Counseling and Career Center, University of Santo Tomas

Three years ago, a Model Counseling and Career Center (CCC) in the Philippines was built to address the challenges and meet the needs of the 21st century and the directional goals of the University of Santo Tomas. The development was supported by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development, Science Technology Research for Innovation Development (USAID STRIDE). The strategic landscape, expectations and outlook for Counseling and Career Services evolved at a rapid rate and included the retooling of 43 guidance counselors and 4 staff (1 Office Secretary, 2 Psychometricians and 1 Associate for Career Placement ). The resultant structure is comprised of 2 major sub-units under the CCC: the Counseling Services Unit and the Career Services Unit.

The Counseling Services Unit takes care of ThomRISE (Thomasian Resources for Intensifying Student Empowerment) with programs on: Orientation and Information; Peer Assisted Study Success (PASS); Peer Facilitator Training; Academic Counseling; Personal, Emotional and Social Counseling; and Intervention Programs for Special Groups.

The Career Services Unit takes care of ThomGUTS (Thomasian Gear Up Tools for Success) and ThomCARE (Thomasian Career Readiness and Employment) with programs on: Career Exploration; Career Ambassadors; Career Counseling; Resume Clinic; Career E-Portfolio; CarSem (Career Seminars with Alumni and Industry Component); Life and Career Skills Development; Student Career Placement & Industry Partnerships; Mock Interviews; Career Fairs (On-Site Recruitment & Employers' Information Sessions); and Networking Sessions. Supported by a Psychological Testing and Assessment Committee, ThomACE (Thomasian Assessment towards Competence and Empowerment) takes care of the following activities: Personality & Skills Assessment and Psychological Testing, Interpretation and Counseling. The center is dedicated to deliver comprehensive and evidence-based counseling and career programs and services in collaboration with educators and administrators as well as engagement and strategic partnerships with business and community stakeholders to ensure students' academic, personal-social and career success.

The Counseling and Career Center, University of Santo Tomas, is recognized not only in the Philippines but in other countries around the globe. In April 2017, the Center's services were recognized during APCDA's annual conference which included representation from 23 countries. In June 2017, the platform was presented at the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCDPP) held in Korea; with 29 participating countries.

In 2017-2018, USAID STRIDE consultants from William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan spearheaded a career caravan in the strategic areas in the Philippines (Cebu, Legaspi, Davao and Metro Manila) to showcase the roadmap to develop Model Counseling and Career Centers in the Philippines. Along with the all out support of the CCC team and the top administrators of the University of Santo Tomas, led by its Rector, Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., the platform aimed to educate future-ready, Filipino graduates by creating and transforming counseling and career centers for youth, the nation and the global community at large.

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2017 APCDA Conference in Manila by Professor N.K. Chadha

Opening of the Conference
It was wonderful to see so many of you in the Philippines at our APCDA 2017 Conference, which offered cutting-edge information, encouragement, and warm camaraderie. I feel so honored to be the president of this association, which works hard to achieve great things in support of the association, our fellow members, and the profession.

The 2017 conference was informative and full of knowledge and fun. Dr. Santamaria's talk on the history of career counseling was a great learning for young scholars and learned practitioners. Dr. Hechanova's contribution to the conference was immense in terms of enlightening the audience about generational differences and their impact on the workforce of the future. Everyone in the session was mesmerised when Dr. Bright presented the latest thinking on the Chaos Theory of Careers. Of course, these presentations cannot be easily forgotten.

Lunch Break
There were many fascinating presentations — from 16 countries, including Australia, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Macau, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, USA, and Vietnam. Topics covered every imaginable aspect of career services, from exciting new research to software that makes job search skills fun to learn. Both the research sessions and many of the presentations offered practical, useful ideas for improving career services in specific settings and a variety of new ideas for career professionals. I would like to welcome all the new members and first time attendees for their willingness to learn and contribute to the association.
Ateneo Career Center Staff
This outstanding program would not have been possible without the generous support of our conference sponsors- Kuder and the Career Planning Network. We were also happy to have exhibitors Abundanz Consulting and Suzhou Success Partners. Our deep gratitude goes to our sponsors, donors, and friends for their ongoing generosity. The APCDA Member Committee deserve a huge round of applause for making close ties with our sponsors and communicating with them for their support and long-term association.
> Marikina Dance Troupe

Attendees made new friends and enjoyed catching up with the old ones. The Ateneo Career Center staff did a great job of looking into every minute detail so that the conference ran smoothly. The Board of APPCU (Association of Placement Practitioners of Colleges and Universities) assisted with registering attendees. The entire schedule, plenary sessions, workshops, Audio-visual equipments, hotel accommodations, meetings, social events and above all the food arrangements were flawlessly organized. We will long remember the great food and beautiful folk dance at the Reception, and the attendees who joined in dancing the Tinikling. The Silent Auction was quite successful, earning $350 toward scholarships for the 2018 conference.

I am not saying goodbye to my attendees. We are going to meet and share knowledge and friendship next year in Beijing. I know many of you have already planned to be there.

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The Philippines — a Haven of Festivals by Aira Leigh C. Bagtas

If you visit the Philippines in spring or summer, you have your choice of "fun in the sun," or joining festivals or fiestas. Attending these celebrations not only ensures a good time (and a full stomach) but also provides a deeper insight into Philippine culture and traditions.

Click here to read the full article.

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Ateneans At The Vanguard Of Nation-Building by Florence Ladion

In 1872, a 12 year old Jose Rizal entered the Ateneo Municipal de Manila (now the Ateneo de Manila University) where for the next five years, he was immersed in studies that not only sharpened his intellectual capability but also deepened his love for God and country. Such were, and still are, the strongest attractions of an Ateneo education.

For more than 150 years now, the Ateneo de Manila University has remained one of the most prestigious and comprehensive universities in Southeast Asia — participating meaningfully amidst the changing national and global milieus. The Ateneo has been at the vanguard of contributing to nation building. Drawing from the Jesuit tradition of faith, character formation, justice and civic engagement, Ateneans are taught to grow personally and spiritually. They are encouraged to not just think of themselves but also of their communities. "To be men and women for others" is at the core of every Jesuit identity, and ultimately, of every Atenean.

Ateneo's gentle genius, the late Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ, was one of them.

An effective communicator, extraordinary writer and esteemed historian, de la Costa was the first Filipino Superior of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. This remarkable accomplishment was followed with an appointment as General Assistant and Consultor to then Jesuit General Fr. Pedro Arrupe. Yet, what may most be remembered about de la Costa was not his long list of achievements nor his writings, it was that he used his exceptional talents to give glory to God and serve others. He did everything with love, devotion, and service, whether it was writing Light Cavalry (a book about the 400th anniversary of the Society of Jesus) or imparting knowledge to younger Ateneans as a History professor. He was even awarded the Medal of Freedom by the United States government for his role in helping the resistance movement during World War II.

With an education rooted in Ignatian spirituality, it is not surprising to see Ateneans championing the rights of those most vulnerable. Ateneans are change catalysts and who better to personify this than two men who gave up their life fighting for democracy: Edgar Jopson and Evelio Javier.

Jopson, like Rizal and de la Costa, was an excellent student — graduating valedictorian at the Ateneo High School and cum laude, BS Management Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University. A recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in 1970, Jopson was one of the bold young men who fought tirelessly against the viciousness of Martial Law. He was at the forefront of seeking political change until his death at the hands of the military in 1982.

Javier also graduated from the Ateneo High School with first honors. In 1963, he completed his AB History and Government and went on to study at the Ateneo Law School. As the youngest provincial governor in the Philippines at the time – he was 29 years old – Javier's passion for service and dedication personified the Ignatian spirit of faith, courage, and justice. At the peak of the snap presidential elections, Javier was killed by hooded gun men. His untimely demise on Feb. 11, 1986 was seen as one of the flames that ignited the 1986 People Power Revolution.

The Ateneo way is a way of oblation. More than harnessing the academic excellence of its students, the Ateneo helps mold future leaders who will be at the forefront of nation building. Noted alumni who contribute through jobs and growth are business tycoons Manuel V. Pangilinan (First Pacific), Lourdes Josephine Gotianum (Filinvest Development), Roberto Ongpin (Alphaland Corporation), Alfredo Ramos (National Bookstore), and Tomas Alcantara (Alson Consolidated Resources), to name a few. Young alumni like (Reese Fernandez-Ruiz (Rags2Riches), Mark Ruiz (Hapinoy) and Eleanor Pinugu (Mano Amiga Philippines) are also doing their part in addressing developmental problems through their social enterprises. Fernandez-Ruiz was, in fact, included in Forbes' 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs for 2015.

The Ateneo is committed to help rebuild the nation and has scaled up efforts through various initiatives. Among such programs are Gawad Kalinga (which helps build homes and communities in depressed areas); Pathways to Higher Education (assists academically-gifted but underprivileged youth from the public school system complete college education); the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (helps improve public basic education through programs); and the Disaster Response and Management team (assists in helping victims of natural calamities).

One hundred forty-four years after our national hero Jose Rizal became an Atenean, the Ateneo de Manila University continues to form men and women who will build knowledge, inspire and empower others, but most especially, use their gifts and talents for the greater glory of God.

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Update on Career Services in the Philippines by Florence T. Ladion

With the shift in academic calendar already in full swing at the Ateneo de Manila University – as well as in three other major universities in Metro Manila – career development practitioners have taken the extended summer break to re-tool by actively participating in local conventions and global conferences. Such activities were pursued in light of the University's thrust of internationalization and to emphasize that "Ateneo is Ready to Sync with the World."

In local circles, the Career Development Association of the Philippines (CDAP) held its Mid-Year Convention May 13-15, 2015. With the theme, "Level Up Your Score: Finding Meaning Behind Your Career," key issues were discussed by featured speakers including: Jocelyn Pick (Managing Director, Profiles Asia Pacific) and Robert Policarpio (President, People Management Association of the Philippines) to represent industry; Felicidad Zurbano (Assistant Executive Director, TESDA National Institute for Technical Education and Skills Development) who gave the perspective of government and Maria Teresa Medado (Managing Director, Asia Pacific College) who spoke on behalf of the academic sector. For more details on this event, please go to:

Finally, the Ateneo de Manila University made a mark in the recently-concluded NCDA Conference held in Denver, as Carla Siojo (Director, Ateneo Office of Placement and Career Services and APCDA Philippines Country Director) presented in a panel on "When Asian Women Consider Career Options." Moderated by former NCDA President Cheri Butler, Siojo shared how Filipino women are empowered to pursue their dual role of income-earner and homemaker. In stark contrast, speakers from Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea shared how cultural beliefs and practices continue to limit women's career opportunities even in these supposedly more developed Asian countries. Attendees featured practitioners, notably from Singapore and the US, who exchanged insights as panelists answered questions on: (1) the most pressing challenges confronting women in their country today and (2) what could be done differently to address such challenges.

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Career Development in the Philippines: A Rough Sketch of June 2014 to February 2015 by Carmen Siojo

Individual and group Career Counseling/Consultation (face-to-face and/or online) as well as on-campus recruitment initiatives (e.g. recruitment presentations, pre-employment testing) with Students and Alumni typically take place throughout the year at most universities and colleges in the tertiary level in the Philippines. Most institutions resume classes in June and begin career orientation programs for juniors and seniors in July. Mid-year conventions for the two major career professional organizations take place in August.

APPCU is committed to assist in the establishment, growth, and development of functional placement programs of its member schools. More specifically, it seeks to:

  1. enhance the knowledge, competencies, and opportunities for professional development of each member;
  2. make resources and information available to its member schools for the effective and efficient delivery of their placement services;
  3. strengthen linkages among member schools and with partners in the four employment sectors.

In September, employers start doing university roadshows for their flagship recruitment programs. And from fall through December, a series of career panel discussions and networking sessions are scheduled and organized by career field/ industry. The fall, specifically October, also finds employers conducting rounds at the many higher education institutions to filter top teams as university representatives for international marketing competitions. And in December, plans get underway for based career fairs. These fairs are scheduled as week-long events in January. And in February, week-long events include on-campus mock interviews..

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