Senator Sonny Angara is encouraging out-of-school youth to take advantage of the new law that included them among the beneficiaries of the government’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), which provides short-term job opportunities to help them pursue and continue their education.
“Higit na nangangailangan ng tulong ang ating mga out-of-school youth para makabalik sa pag-aaral. Pinalawak natin ang sakop ng batas para mas mabigyan sila ng oportunidad na mag-apply sa trabaho para kumita at matustusan ang kanilang pagbabalik-eskwela,” said Angara, who sponsored the new SPES law that was enacted in August last year.
Republic Act 10917 aims to strengthen the government’s employment program for students to include not only poor but deserving students, but also out-of-school youth, dependents of displaced workers, and would-be displaced workers due to business closures or work stoppages, or natural calamities, who intend to enroll in any secondary, tertiary or technical-vocational institutions.
The SPES was instituted in 1992 under RA 7323, and was amended by RA 9547 in 2009. It aims to help poor but deserving students in pursuing their education by encouraging establishments and government agencies to employ them during summer and Christmas vacations.
To strengthen the program, the new law mandates that out-of-school youth and those enrolled in the tertiary, vocational or technical education may be employed at any time of the year. High school students, on the other hand, shall be employed only during summer and/or Christmas vacations.
Angara, vice chairman of the Senate labor committee, explained that RA 10917 further raised the age limit of the program’s beneficiaries from 15-25 years old to 15-30 years old, and extended the SPES employment period from 52 days to 78 days or three months.
To qualify, the combined net income of the beneficiary’s parents, including his/her own income, if any, should not exceed the latest annual regional poverty threshold level for a family of six.
Sixty percent of the salary of the beneficiaries will be paid by the employer, while the remaining 40 percent will be shouldered by the government, both to be paid in cash. Such salary will be used for the students’ tuition fees and other education-related expenses including their daily allowance for food and transportation in going to school.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the department has allocated some P798 million for the employment of 100,000 to 120,000 students and out-of-school youth this summer break.
According to DOLE, beneficiaries were usually hired as food service crews, customer touch points, office clerks, gasoline attendants, cashiers, sales ladies, promodizers, as well as in clerical, encoding, messengerial, computer and programming jobs.
“We expanded the law’s coverage and lengthened its duration para mas maraming makinabang na kabataan, lalo na iyong mga napilitang tumigil sa pag-aaral dahil gipit sa buhay ang kanilang pamilya. Hinihimok natin sila na gawing makabuluhan ang summer break at tulungan ang kanilang mga magulang na mag-ipon para sa kanilang pag-aaral,” Angara said.