Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic regional economies in the world, having experienced impressive growth over the last 15 years. The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 marked an important milestone on its path towards becoming a highly competitive region that is integrated in the global economy. However, the region faces several obstacles, such as high levels of income inequality and weak governance structures, which place pressure on maintaining this momentum and achieving higher levels of development and inclusiveness.

The region is confronted with significant skills and labour market challenges. Industry is becoming more diversified, and job requirements are demanding more complex and sophisticated skills. A highly skilled labour force is increasingly important for economies in the region to remain competitive and achieve their growth objectives.

Launched in 2014, the OECD Southeast Asia Programme aims to bring the relationship of the OECD and Southeast Asian countries to a new strategic level to support domestic reform processes and contribute to regional integration initiatives. Under the Southeast Asia Programme, the OECD’s Regional Policy Network on Education and Skills aims to foster knowledge exchange to support a whole-of-government approach to formulating and implementing sound skills policies at the national and local levels. The network draws on the OECD’s Employment and Skills Strategies Initiative in Southeast Asia (ESSSA), which brings together senior government officials from the labour and education ministries across ASEAN countries to discuss the latest policy innovations in the region.

The OECD is engaging with Southeast Asian economies to apply the framework of the OECD Reviews on Local Job Creation in the region. These reviews deliver evidence-based and practical recommendations on how best to design employment services to better connect people to jobs, how to engage employers in skills training and how to foster stronger governance arrangements at the local level. This report on the Philippines looks at the implementation of employment and skills programmes in three case study areas (Taguig City, Cebu City, and Davao City) and provides a comparative analysis on how local government units in the Philippines can contribute to more and better quality jobs.

I wish to warmly thank the Department of Labour and Employment, Philippines as well as the Asian Development Bank for participating and supporting this study.


Lamia Kamal-Chaoui

Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs,

Local Development and Tourism, OECD