House gives final nod to Magna Carta of the Out-of-School Youth

By Jose Cielito Reganit

November 29, 2023, 8:15 pm

<p>(File photo)</p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on the third and final reading the proposed Magna Carta of the Out-of-School Youth (OSY) that seeks to recognize and promote the rights of OSYs and empower them to contribute to nation-building.

House Bill No. 9347, which was approved with an overwhelming 246 votes, also aims to give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the OSYs by providing them learning and employment opportunities as well as the needed social services and interventions.

The bill provides that the State, through the National Youth Commission (NYC), Commission on Human Rights and other concerned youth-serving agencies, shall institute programs that will protect OSYs against discrimination of any kind, and promote substantive equality on the rights in all aspects of growth and development.

HB 9347 also spells out the rights and empowerments for OSYs such as their human rights, equal treatment before the law, representation of OSYs in media, film and other platforms, recognition and preservation of the cultural identity and integrity of the Moro and indigenous OSYs to practice, promote, protect and preserve their own culture, traditions and institutions, and decent work standards for the OSYs who have graduated from technical and vocational education and training courses.

The proposed law provides government assistance and support to the OSYs in education, health, social services and employment, particularly programs to ensure free access of the OSYs to formal, informal and non-formal learning opportunities.

These opportunities include technical or vocational education, alternative learning system, promotion to tertiary education, entrepreneurial education and other programs that seek to reduce poverty and vulnerability to risks faced by the OSYs.

HB 9347 also seeks to provide sufficient assistance to OSYs who are especially in difficult circumstances, such as those with disabilities; victims of sexual and physical abuse, illegal recruitment, prostitution, trafficking, and armed conflict; OSY in conflict with the law and in times of crisis, pandemic and other public health emergencies.

The assistance and services to be provided include temporary and protective custody; medical, dental, and physical therapy services; mental health care; psychological evaluation; counseling; psychiatric evaluation; legal services; productivity capability building; livelihood assistance; financial assistance; life skills training; and health education and information.

The proposed measure defines the roles and responsibilities of the NYC, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the local social welfare and development officer, Sangguniang Kabataan, the Local Youth Development Council, local government units (LGU), Department of Agriculture, and non-government organizations in the implementation of this Act.

HB 9347 further provides for the penalties for violations under the measure, such as discrimination against OSYs by private corporations, entities and individuals; discrimination in wages, condition of work and employment opportunities; and non-compliance with the mandatory coverage by employers of health, accident and life insurance. (PNA)