A bill seeking to waive government fees and charges on documents needed by first-time jobseekers for their employment is now awaiting the signature of the President.

Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, explained that the proposed exemption of government fees can be availed only once by first-time jobseekers.

“The proposed exemption of government fees can be availed only once.”

If signed into law, all individuals who seek employment for the first time will be able to secure identification documents and clearances issued by the government for free, explained Villanueva.

These include clearances issued by the police, barangays, medical certificates from government clinics and hospitals, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, as well as birth and/or marriage certificates, tax identification number, and the Unified Multi-Purpose ID card (UMID).

The seasoned legislator said first-time applicants will be asked to submit a barangay certification as proof of being first-time jobseekers.

“Malaking tulong po ang panukalang batas na ito na mag-e-exempt sa mga bagong graduate at unang beses pa lang mag-apply ng trabaho sa mga bayaring may kinalaman sa mga pre-employment documents,” said the veteran lawmaker, who is also chairs the Senate Committee on Youth.

“The proposed measure is estimated to help around 1.3 million first-time jobseekers annually.”

“Kapag pinagsama-sama po ang gastos para sa mga pre-employment document, mahina po ang P2,000 at mabigat po ‘yan para po sa isang fresh graduate. Kahit pa sabihing graduate na, ang totoo, financially dependent pa rin po siya sa kaniyang mga magulang o kaanak,” the senator added.

The proposed measure, called the First-Time Jobseekers bill, is estimated to help around 1.3 million first-time jobseekers annually. Data shows that job applicants pay as much as P2,000 for employment requirements.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) study showed that regulations and restrictions on employment arrangements were one of the strong factors influencing school-to-work transition.

“It takes a high school graduate up to three years to find a first job while it takes a college graduate one year to find a first job,” he stressed.

“Kapag hinayaan po nating tambay ang mga fresh grad dahil hindi sila agad makakuha ng mga dokumentong hinahanap ng mga employer, mas lumalaki po ang tyansa na manakaw sa kanila ang mga trabahong napupunta lang sa mga illegal alien workers,” Villanueva said.

Under the bill, the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in the different provinces, municipalities and cities shall assist the first-time job seekers in securing the required documents for application.

Concerned government agencies shall maintain an annual roster of all individuals who have been issued documents under the Act and submit the roster to the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), which in turn shall compile a database of the beneficiaries that is accessible to all the agencies.

The bill also calls for the creation of an inter-agency monitoring committee to monitor the compliance of the concerned government agencies granting the waiver of fees and charges. Failure to comply with the act could result in the filing of administrative charges.

“Kung magkakatrabaho po kaagad ang ating mga kabataan at hindi sila tambay, makikinabang po ang lahat, lalo na ang kanilang pamilya na umaasa sa kanila, at mas sisigla pa ang ating ekonomiya,” he said.

“We are hopeful that the President will be supportive of our bill that will greatly benefit our young individuals as they enter our country’s workforce,” Villanueva concluded.


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