ZAMBOANGA CITY- Career guidance advocates from all across Zamboanga Peninsula gathered virtually to participate in the bi-annual Regional Career Advocacy Congress (RCAC) which the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 9 hosted on July 27, 2021.

Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe said that the RCAC aims to update implementers about the regional situation of the Career Guidance Advocacy Program (CGAP) as a consequence of the pandemic.

“Through this activity, we were able to evaluate the commitments and develop new agendas under the CGAP. We still note that job-skills mismatch is one of the identified factors that amplifies the on-going unemployment problem in the labor market. Despite the challenges, DOLE’s CGAP is implemented to address the mismatch of jobs and skills especially among the youth,” Director Buenafe added.

The RCAC featured learning sessions on topics such as Integration of Career Guidance in the K to 12 by Department of Education (DEPED) 9 Regional Director Dr. Isabelita M. Borres, Culture and Values in the time of Pandemic “Culture that Heals” by National Commission for Culture and the Arts – National Study on Filipino Values Team Leader Mr. Arvin Manuel L. Villalon, Salient Features and Updates on Anti-Illegal Recruitment/Trafficking in Persons by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Regional Extension Unit Head, Ms. Marrieta M. Bellotindos and Region 9 Labor Market Information Situationer by DOLE 9 Assistant Regional Director Ms. Imelda F. Gatinao.

The overall goal is to ensure the youths, career advocates and employment coaches, parents, jobseekers, academe and the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) are all provided with the appropriate and timely knowledge on the realities of the labor market, especially with the full implementation of the K to 12 program with the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCGAP Zamboanga Peninsula President Ms. Margie B. Janda, RGC, presented the way forward agenda for the CGAP Advocacy Plan 2022.

Assistant Regional Director Ms. Gatinao closed the program and thanked all the guidance counselors and career advocates.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this event possible. Let us continue to strengthen and take ownership of the ZamPen network. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic we will continue to serve and empower our students and the public by streamlining labor market information in their consciousness and by implementing the career guidance program of the government.” Ms Gatinao said.

CGAP is one of the flagship programs being implemented by the Department as employment facilitation inter mediation services for the youth to provide them relevant information that could guide them in making informed career choices. ### Karen Grafia