2012 Labor Day celebration, easier and faster to and find jobs

To make it easier and faster for job seekers to search and find jobs at the 2012 Labor Day Job and Livelihood Fair at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said yesterday that the DOLE is bringing at the fair an array of employment facilitation services for free.
“These employment facilitation services, such as application support documents, are essential to getting a job,” Baldoz said.
She said the DOLE is setting up a one-stop shop for job seekers to easily access these services. The one-stop shop will be composed of officers and representatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (for clearance documents); National Statistics Office (for birth and marriage certificates); Social Security System (SSS; for social security membership); PhilHealth (for medical security membership); Pag-IBIG (for shelter security membership); Professional Regulation Commission (for profession licenses); and Bureau of Internal Revenue (for income tax purposes).
Aside from the services clinics of these agencies, a 16-man team of lawyers and legal personnel from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board, National Labor Relations Commission, Bureau of Labor Relations, National Wages and Productivity Commission, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, DOLE-National Capital Region, and DOLE Legal Service shall compose a free legal services clinic that shall offer free legal services on labor and employment matters and inquiries.
“The team shall also provide information on the department’s programs and services, particularly the Single-Entry Approach mechanism and DO [Department Order] 18-A, the newest DOLE order on subcontracting,” Baldoz said.
Just like in previous DOLE job fairs, the one-stop shop is one of the much anticipated services at the 2012 Job and Livelihood Fair.
Baldoz emphasized that the DOLE will conduct the Job and Livelihood Fair not only to address unemployment, but also to promote better synergy among employers, workers, and government, especially at the local levels.
“The 2012 Labor Day celebration is anchored on the theme, ‘Pagtutulungan. Pagbabago. Disenteng Trabaho.,’ which clearly identifies the DOLE’s effort to a holistic, inclusive commemoration focused on facilitating workers’ and employers’ search for jobs and skills, and, subsequently, […] developing the country’s top resource towards achieving decent jobs that could contribute to inclusive economic growth,” Baldoz said.
The DOLE 2012 Labor Day celebration is supported by DOLE partners—namely, Asia Brewery, Inc.; Banco De Oro; Centrex Corporation; Cobra Energy Drink; Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.; Globe Telecom; Golden Arches Development Corporation; Max’s Chicken; Public Employment Service Office Association of Metro Manila; Pag-IBIG; PhilHealth; PALSCON; San Miguel Corporation; SM Supermalls; SSS; Suyen Corporation; and Sykes Asia, Inc., with the Philippine StarPhilippine Daily InquirerBusiness Mirror, and Manila Bulletin as media partners.
To know the latest on the 2012 Labor Day celebration, like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Laborday2012.

P60-billion LRT1 Cavite Extension Project for bidding in May

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas today announced that the P60-billion Light Rail Transit (LRT)-1 Cavite Extension Project, approved by the National Economic and Development Authority in March, is now set for bidding next month.
“Sisimulan na natin ang bidding process sa pamamagitan ng pagpa-publish sa mga pahayagan ng invitation to bid para sa proyekto nang sa gayon ay maabot natin ang target completion natin na 2015,” Roxas said.
Roxas said in the weekly DOTC press event that the construction of the tracks, stations, and all its attendant facilities worth about P30 billion would be bid out. The other half of the P60-billion project, which includes the purchase of the coaches, will be borne out by the government through money funded via the Official Development Assistance (ODA), which has lower interest rates over local private financing.
Roxas also ensured the public that the terms of reference (TOR) for the project are clear.
“We want to make sure that the terms of reference is very clear, hindi yung maglalabas ng bara-barang TOR tapos papalitan sa kalagitnaan nitong project,” Roxas said. “We are quite conscious of that; we want predictability, stability, and transparency, kaya mas maigi na yung magkaroon ng one or two weeks delay para masiguro na tama yung TOR.”
Commenting on the recent partnership of conglomerates Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investment Corporation to jointly participate in government infrastructure projects, Roxas said: “Any expression of interest, particularly by people possessing these qualifications, is always welcome. We want companies with huge capitalization, who have a good track record of delivering large infrastructure projects [and] who clearly have access to the [latest] technology, manpower, management, and all the skills necessary to successfully deliver all of these projects.”
Roxas also added that the government wants to avoid or minimize participation of “flippers” or companies that bid low on a contract, then sell it to some other groups without the necessary expertise to implement the project, as this only results to delays.
The Cavite Extension Project will extend the existing 20.7-km LRT-1 system, which runs from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in Parañaque, by an additional 11.7 km southward to Bacoor, Cavite.
Eight passenger stations with a provision for two additional stations, one satellite depot, and three intermodal facilities are part of the project. The passenger stations will tentatively be constructed in the following areas:
  • Redemptorist Station on Redemptorist Road near Roxas Boulevard
  • MIA Station near the Coastal Mall along Roxas Boulevard
  • Asia World Station near Asia World Development (Roxas Boulevard)
  • Ninoy Aquino Station on the east side of Ninoy Aquino Bridge over the Paranaque River
  • Dr. Santos Station, south of Dr. Santos Road
  • Las Piñas Station, east of Quirino Avenue and south of Las Piñas River
  • Zapote Station, north of the Alabang-Zapote Flyover
  • Niyog Station, south of the Niyog Road bypass and Aguinaldo Highway intersection
Two provisional stations in Manuyo Uno in Las Piñas City and Talaba in Cavite are also being proposed.
Once complete, the new line will increase ridership of LRT-1 from 500,000 to 700,000 passengers per day. It will provide a faster and more convenient alternative to residents of Cavite, Las Piñas, and Parañaque.
The construction will be divided into two phases—Phase 1A: from Baclaran to Dr. Santos Avenue, and Phase 1B: from Dr. Santos Avenue to Niyog Station.
“We expect half the work to be completed by late 2014 and the other half by late 2015,” Roxas said.

BOC official, Atty. Manuel C. Relorcasa, charged for misleading SALN

For providing fabricated, misleading, and incomprehensive details in his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALN), the Bureau of Custom’s (BOC) Supervising Customs Operations Officer Atty. Manuel C. Relorcasa is facing criminal and administrative indictments in violation of Republic Act 3019, as amended; Republic Act 6713; Article 171 (4) and Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code; serious dishonesty and grave misconduct under the applicable rules and regulations of Civil Service.
In the sworn complaint filed on April 19, 2012, the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF) averred that Atty. Relorcasa consistently misled authorities when he declared in his 2000 to 2010 SALNs a house and lot in the province of Albay, allegedly acquired in 1980. However, supporting records obtained by RIPS belied his statement because the said property was transferred to Home Development Mutual Fund since July 2, 1999 to a certain Emmanuel R. Pesebre.
Contrary to Atty. Relorcasa claims of ownership with properties in Antipolo, Rizal; Baras, Rizal; and Libon, Albay, RIPS discovered that there were no properties registered under his name in the said areas.
RIPS successfully kept tab on Atty. Relorcasa’s undeclared landholdings, consisting of an agricultural land with an area of .8595 hectares, as well as a residential land with an area of 500 square meters, in Anislag, Daraga, Albay.
Furthermore, Atty. Relorcasa failed to disclose the name and personal circumstances of his spouse, Shirley Llona, in his SALNs and Personal Data Sheet (PDS) despite stating that he was married.
Atty. Relorcasa may be placed under preventive suspension without pay pending the investigation of the administrative and criminal cases against him pursuant to the Ombudsman’s express power under Section 24 of “The Ombudsman Act of 1989.”
RIPS has initiated 108 graft and lifestyle cases against 149 personalities and successfully secured 61 suspensions from office and twenty-one 21 dismissals from service.

Philippines and China participated in 13th Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 (G77)

The Philippines actively participated in the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 (G77) and China held in Doha, Qatar last April 21 in conjunction with the 13th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII).
The G77 and China, which is composed of more than 130 developing countries including the Philippines, adopted the G77 and China Ministerial Declaration at the conclusion of the Ministerial Meeting.
Under the Declaration, the Group emphasized the need for strengthened solidarity among developing countries in addressing common challenges, in taking advantage of opportunities and in redefining the development agenda.
The Group reaffirmed the central role of UNCTAD as the focal point within the UN for the integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment, and sustainable development.
The Group also reiterated the call for the necessary flexibility and political will to break the current impasse in the Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization and conclude in a balanced, comprehensive and development-oriented outcome.

Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) participants voted Philippines as chairman in the next two years

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday welcomed the overwhelming consensus of countries participating in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) process to make the Philippines chairman of the Dialogue in the next two years.
“I welcome this as a recognition of the Philippines’ commitment to champion not only the welfare and protection of overseas Filipino workers, but also the cause of migrant workers all over Asia,” said Baldoz during the 2nd Ministerial Meeting on the last day of the three-day ADD II at the Sofitel Hotel in Manila.
No less than President Benigno S. Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay graced the opening of the 2nd Ministerial Meeting.
Vice President Binay introduced the President, who delivered the keynote speech, and Secretary Baldoz delivered the welcome message to the participating labor ministers and senior officials, delegates, and guests.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Labor Minister Saqr Ghobash, the current chair of the ADD, also delivered his address, then turned over the gavel, the symbol of the chairman’s authority, to Secretary Baldoz. The turnover signals the assumption by the Philippines of the Dialogue’s chairmanship in the next two years.
In his address, Minister Ghobash expressed his gratitude to the Philippines for the successful hosting of the event, saying it was a testament to the country’s commitment to the welfare of Filipino nationals overseas and to its close cooperation with labor-receiving countries in looking after the interests of its expatriate citizens and facilitating their return to the Philippines at the end of their journey.
“It is befitting that the Philippines stepped forward to chair the ADD process. The Philippines has historically been in the lead among nations when it comes to engagement and participation in regional and international fora that address issues and challenges of labor migration,” he said.
“During the last four years that the UAE chaired the ADD, the Philippines was consistently engaged in the implementation of the recommendations of the Ministerial Consultation and actively participated in pilot projects and programs, the outcome of which were documented in the approved technical report to the Abu Dhabi Dialogue II,” he added.
Translating its commitment in sustaining and moving the ADD process forward, Minister Ghobash announced in his address that the UAE is offering to host the permanent site of the ADD secretariat in his country’s capital.
Secretary Baldoz explained that the technical report was the basis of the Framework of Regional Collaboration, which was deliberated and approved by the ADD labor ministers on the last day of the Dialogue.
“The Framework of Regional Collaboration is the major output of this three-day event. It is a historic document designed to guide participating countries in undertaking concrete unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral actions towards an enhanced contract migration cycle, from pre-deployment to employment, to preparation for return, and, finally, to reintegration,” Baldoz said.
Baldoz mentioned that among the major inputs of the Philippines to the proposed framework are the: (a) protection of women workers; (b) cooperation in times of emergency crisis; (c) facilitation of repatriation of nationals; and (d) regulation of cost of migration.
The ADD, an important dialogue of 11 countries of migrant worker origin, which are members of the Colombo Process—namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam—and nine countries of migrant worker destination—namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE, and Yemen—took place from April 17 to 19 at the Sofitel Hotel in Manila.
DOLE Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz was the Chairman of the ADD II Organizing Committee and the Senior Officials Meeting held during the three-day event.

BIR filed a criminal complaint against Temps and Staffers, Inc for Tax Evasion

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) today filed a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice against Temps and Staffers, Inc. (TSI), together with its president, Arturo C. Guerrero III and treasurer, Vivian A. Guerrero, for two counts of willful attempt to evade or defeat tax and eight counts of willful failure to supply correct and accurate information in its Income Tax and Value Added Tax Returns for taxable year 2009 pursuant to Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended (Tax Code).
TSI is a Securities and Exchange Commission-registered corporation located at the 2nd Floor, SFI Bldg., 105 West Ave., Bungad I, Quezon City, whose primary business is to engage in manpower recruitment.
The TSI investigation was triggered by confidential information received by the BIR on the alleged tax evasion scheme perpetrated by TSI.
In the course of the said investigation, the BIR discovered that TSI received P122.34 million, P2.88 million, and P10.18 million from Samsung, BDO Insurance Brokers, Inc., and Globe, respectively, for the services it rendered during taxable year 2009. Said amounts totaling P135.40 million were gathered from the alpha list (1604-E) submitted by Samsung and schedule of purchases from BDO and Globe.
Compared against its gross receipts declaration with the BIR of P72.26 million in its 2009 Income Tax Return (ITR), TSI underdeclared its gross receipts by 72.55 percent amounting to P52.43 million.
The scheme of TSI was to underdeclare its gross receipts in its declaration resulting into a lesser taxable income in its ITR and VAT return and thus, lower tax liability.
TSI was assessed a total deficiency tax liability of P42.57 million, inclusive of surcharges and interests, broken down into: Income Tax–P29.98 million; and VAT–P12.59 million.
The case against Temps And Staffers, Inc. (TSI), together with its president, Arturo C. Guerrero III and treasurer, Vivian A. Guerrero is the 104th filed under the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program of the BIR under the leadership of Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares.

Labor Day 2012 Facebook page launched by DOLE

“Know the latest on the 2012 Labor Day celebration. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Laborday2012.” This is the message of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz to job seekers and the general public as the DOLE has once again turned to the largest social networking site, Facebook, to raise public awareness on the latest events on the Labor Day celebration on May 1.
“Pagtutulungan. Pagbabago. Disenteng Trabaho.” is the 2012 Labor Day theme, and this is what social network “netizens” can see in the 2012 Labor Day Facebook page.
Baldoz described the Facebook page as “an online venue to publicize the array of events, activities, and services [that] the DOLE has prepared for job seekers, new graduates, returning and displaced OFWs [overseas Filipino workers], and other interested Filipinos in line with the 110th Labor Day celebration.”
Believing that Facebook is one of the fastest and most accessible social channels to reach a wider audience, the DOLE has utilized the Facebook page not only to propagate knowledge and awareness about the 2012 Labor Day activities all over the country, but also to drumbeat public participation and support to the nationwide Job and Livelihood Fair, the centerpiece event of the May 1 Labor Day celebration.
“For instance, job seekers will know that they need to preregister with Phil-JobNet through which they will be prescreened by employers [that] will participate at the Job and Livelihood Fair. This will give them [a] higher chance of landing a job on the spot when they present themselves to the employers on May 1,” Baldoz explained.
In the National Capital Region alone, more than 100,000 jobs, both local and overseas, and plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities will be offered by close to 300 employers at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on May 1.
Thousands of job opportunities are also up for grabs at the 33 simultaneous job and livelihood fairs in different venues in cities and provinces across the country.

DOLE announces 57 venues of 2012 Labor Day Job and Livelihood Fairs

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced the venues of the 40 Job and Livelihood Fairs that the DOLE will conduct in celebration of Labor Day.
“It will be hard for new graduates, job seekers, returning OFWs [overseas Filipino workers], out-of-school youth, informal sector workers, and even the general public to miss a DOLE 2012 Job and Livelihood Fair. There will be 40 of them in various venues in the country’s 16 regions,” Baldoz said.
“Easily the biggest of this is the Job and Livelihood Fair at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, where over 100,000 job vacancies are up for grabs from 300 local and overseas employers,” Baldoz added.
The venues of these Job and Livelihood Fairs are as follows:
  1. National Capital Region—World Trade Center, Pasay City
  2. Cordillera Administrative Region—Baguio Convention Center
  3. Region 2—People’s Gymnasium, Tuguegarao (tentative)
  4. Region 3—People’s Center, Balanga, Bataan
  5. Camp Servillano Aquino, Tarlac
  6. Rizal Triangle, Olongapo City
  7. Nueva Ecija Provincial Capitol, Cabanatuan City (tentative)
  8. Region 4-B—Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro
  9. Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro (tentative)
  10. Region 7—Abellana National School, Cebu City
  11. Abellana Sports Complex, Cebu City
  12. Cebu International Convention Center
  13. Tagbilaran City, Bohol
  14. Panfil B. Frasco Sports Complex-Kai Gym, Liloan, Cebu
  15. BQ Mall, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
  16. Municipal Hall, Balamban, Cebu
  17. University of San Carlos South Compound, Cebu City
  18. Region 8—Tacloban City Convention Center, Tacloban City
  19. Region 9—Pagadian City
  20. Western Mindanao State University Gymnasium, Zamboanga City
  21. Region 11—Abreeza Mall
  22. Gaisano Mall, Davao City
  23. Region 12—KCC Mall, Gen. Santos City
  24. North Cotabato Field Office
  25. Sultan Kudarat Field Office
  26. Cotabato City Field Office
  27. Grand Gaisano’s South Cotabato Field Office
  28. SARGEN Field Office
  29. Caraga-AMA Computer Learning Center, Butuan City
The rest of the DOLE regional offices, namely, Regions CAR, 1, 4-A, 5, 6, 10, and 11, will hold their Job and Livelihood Fairs in 24 SM branches in Baguio City; Rosales, Pangasinan; Marilao and Baliwag, Bulacan; San Fernando and Angeles City, Pampanga; Tarlac City; Rosario, Molino, Dasmariñas, and Bacoor City, Cavite; Sta. Rosa City, Calamba City, and San Pablo City, Laguna; Lipa City and Batangas City, Batangas; Taytay and Antipolo City, Rizal; Lucena City, Quezon; Naga City; Iloilo City; Bacolod City; Cagayan de Oro City; and Davao City.
Other DOLE regional Job and Livelihood Fairs will take place in four Robinson’s Place branches in Imus City, Cavite; Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental; Tacloban City; and General Santos City.
“As its way of commemorating the 110th Labor Day in the country, the Department of Labor and Employment will bring together employers [that] are looking for applicants to fill vacancies in their companies and job seekers [that] are looking for the right job that matches their skills and talents. This is not confined in one area because we are making sure that every Filipino willing to work will have a chance to one of the vacancies offered,” Baldoz said.
The simultaneous nationwide Job and Livelihood Fairs will also showcase livelihood counseling, franchising opportunities, skills training, and livelihood skills demonstration.
In Metro Manila, to ensure the fast and smooth processing of job applications and other employment-related documentation, the DOLE has enlisted the participation of the National Bureau of Investigation, Social Security System, Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Statistics Office, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth, which will have their own booths at the fair in Pasay City.
Baldoz once again urged job applicants that will go to the fairs to preregister online through the Phil-JobNet website,www.phil-job.net, by clicking the 2012 Labor Day Job and Livelihood Fairs Applicant Pre-Registration button or by visiting the nearest Public Employment Service Office for easier job matching facilitation.

Caloocan City Mayor Echiverri hires 1,190 students under SPES of DOLE

Caloocan City Mayor Recom EchiverriDepartment of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the City of Caloocan under Mayor Recom Echiverri for hiring 1,190 financially challenged but deserving students under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), a major youth employment intervention of the DOLE.
Baldoz also thanked House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., whose office hired 200 service crew; Rep. Romero Federico S. Quimbo, whose office hired 104 field interviewers, community volunteers, and office clerks; and Party-List Rep. Catalina C. Bagasina (Association of Laborers and Employees), whose office hired 200 offices assistants.
“The 1,190 SPES beneficiaries will work for the city as field enumerators,” Baldoz said, adding that not only local government agencies, but also a growing number of private sector companies are sharing the benefits of the SPES to hundreds of thousands of financially challenged students that have exhibited a drive to continue their studies but are hobbled by financial constraints.
“More private sector companies embracing SPES means more jobs to assist poor students in continuing their education,” she added.
The SPES launching in Caloocan City was part of similar activities already held in the National Capital Region (NCR) this quarter. Earlier, kickoff ceremonies have been held in Pasig City (on March 5 for 1,000 beneficiaries and on April 11 for 2,000 beneficiaries) and Valenzuela City (on March 26 for 1,004 beneficiaries; April 10 for 1,000 beneficiaries; and April 14 for 1,086 beneficiaries).
Gracing the SPES launching ceremonies at the Caloocan City Hall last April 23 was Liga ng mga Barangay National President Ricojudge “RJ” Echiverri, with the DOLE-NCR represented by Assistant Regional Director Benjo Santos Benavidez, Director Andrea P. Cabansag of the DOLE-NCR Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela City (CAMANAVA) field office, and Public Employment Service Office Supervisor Mercy Ocampo. Echiverri particularly encouraged the SPES beneficiaries, which came from the poorest of the poor, to strive hard and succeed by taking care not to waste but to invest their hard-earned money from their summer jobs to support their education.
Next week, April 30, Makati City will launch its SPES for 1,500 beneficiaries, and Pasig City will launch its SPES for 1,004 beneficiaries on September 3.
Initially, a total of 9,090 SPES jobs are being made available for Metro Manila, covering the metropolitan districts of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, and San Juan; CAMANAVA; and Muntinlupa City, Parañaque City, and Las Piñas City, all part of the 140,000 SPES opportunities targeted nationwide for this year.
Baldoz identified some of the private sector companies partnering with the DOLE on the SPES as follows: Amkor Technology Phils., Inc. (127 information technology jobs); Christ the King College of Science and Technology (200 student assistants); Integrated Manufacturing Services Providers, Inc. (12 machine operators); Goldilocks Bakeshop (50 store crew); STI College-Recto (28 student assistants); Maybank Phils., Inc. (5 clerks); Manila Adventist Medical Center and Colleges (40 student assistants); Max’s Restaurant (120 kitchen and dining crew); Golden Arches Development Corporation (1,931 service crew); Mapua (20 student assistants); Lyceum of Alabang (45 clerks); Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa (250 student assistants); International Electronics and Technical Institute, Inc. (30 student assistants); Food Terminal, Inc. (15 administrative assistants, accounting clerks/records assistants, human resources staff); STI College Alabang (50 student assistants); and Perpetual Help (25 student assistants).
Other government agencies participating in the SPES are the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (10 clerks); Employees Compensation Commission (25 clerks); Department of Science and Technology (20 student assistants); Department of Education (150 student assistants); and local government units of Manila, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, Paranaque, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela. Total SPES employment from both the public and private sectors this year has reached more than 14,648 jobs.
The 19-year old SPES program is mandated under Republic Act (RA) No. 7323. It encourages “the employment of poor but deserving students during summer and/or Christmas vacations, through incentives granted to employers.”
In 2009, Congress amended the SPES Law through RA 9547, which provides that “any person or entity employing at least ten (10) persons may employ poor but deserving students fifteen (15) years of age but not more than twenty-five (25) years old, paying them a salary or wage not lower than the minimum wage for private employers and the applicable hiring rate for the national and local government agencies, provided that student enrolled in the secondary level shall only be employed during summer and/or Christmas vacations, while those enrolled in the tertiary, vocational or technical education may be employed at any time of the year.”
Sixty percent of the salary or wage of SPES “babies” shall be paid by the employers in cash and the 40 percent by the government in the form of a voucher, which shall be applicable in the payment of the students’ tuition fees and books in any educational institution for secondary, tertiary, vocational, or technical education.

Speech of PNoy at the launch of the K to 12 Basic Education Program

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the launch of the K to 12 Basic Education Program
[English translation of the speech delivered at Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace, Manila, April 24, 2012]
Good afternoon. Thank you. Please sit down.
Secretary Armin Luistro; Senator Ed Angara; Congressman Sonny Angara; Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco; Congressman Mel Sarmiento; Congressman Going Mercado; Congressman Mariano Piamonte; Secretary Dinky Soliman; Secretary Sonny Coloma; Secretary Joel Villanueva; Usec. Yolanda Quijano; Commissioner Nenalyn Defensor; former Congresswoman Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel; kindergarten, elementary, and high school students, and their respective teachers; friends from the business sector; friends from the international community and partner agencies; fellow workers in government; honored guests; my beloved countrymen:
Good afternoon to all of you.
Can I apologize for being about thirty minutes late? We were discussing the Philippine Investment Plan to cover the years from 2011 to 2016, and these are the details of exactly where we’ll bring in or put in about five or over five trillion pesos. Since I will have to explain where each and every centavo will go to, I was asking them the pertinent questions and it dragged on and on. Actually, I will have to go back to that meeting right after this very momentous occasion.
And may I apologize to our international friends—as usual, I’ll be delivering the speech in our national language. I apologize that you will have to read the hardcopy afterwards.
To better put ourselves in today’s context, I think it is best that I tell you a story first.
I have an uncle who is the typical male—he likes action movies, war movies, et cetera. So he had a Home Theater System installed in his house—this was when my mother was President. And because on one of his trips to America he discovered that there were these cheap garden speakers, as they were called, he had those installed in his garden too, connected to the Home Theater System.
When my uncle was a boy, there were no Home Theater Systems then—he had to go to an actual theater house, and the shows there had these cliffhangers—that is, you would watch one episode this week, and then you had to go back two weeks later to watch the next episode. [Laughter]
So my uncle did not really know how to use the Home Theater. He relied on his children to turn the system on and set up whatever it was he wanted to watch. One Saturday, he wanted to watch a movie, but it was kind of late already; he started around eleven in the evening. His children weren’t there; they were having their night out. Thankfully, my uncle at least knew how to press “On” and “Play.”
He fed this war movie into the system and started watching it. He must have forgotten that the speakers of the Home Theater were still connected to those in the garden. And, of course, when you watch a movie, it’s always much better when the volume is up really loud.
Remember that this was during my mother’s time, so they were expecting all these coups. So this action scene came on, along with the sounds of gunfight and these loud explosions, all the neighbors started turning on their lights, thinking that an actual coup was happening. [Laughter]
His children came home then, and they were telling him, “Dad, the entire neighborhood thinks there’s something going on in here.” And that was when he figured out, and he immediately turned the system off. I do not know if he ever got to finish the movie, given his shame over the scandal he created that night. [Laughter]
It might be better if I tell you another story:
So this was when I was a kid. Now, if we had to talk to someone in Cebu, you take out your cellphone, you know that person’s number, and in seconds, you’re talking with him. Right? When I was a kid, you had to book long-distance calls. So all you needed to know how to do back then was the number of long-distance operator, to whom you’d give the number of whoever it was you wanted to talk to, and you wait for the call back. If you’re waiting for the call in the morning, you get to talk to that person come afternoon.
I think, I read somewhere, it was said that at the start, I believe, of the 20th century; the amount of knowledge that a person was expected to have could be contained in a Sunday edition of the New York Times. However, today, even with just entertainment, when you buy a Home Theater System; you have to be able to set it up: positioning the speakers, putting in the parameters of the delay, understanding what HDMI means, and so on and so forth—and even getting your remote controls to “talk” to each other. [Laughter] I’m narrating this because I have a cabinet secretary whose old Home Theatre conked out and he decided to buy himself a new one and up to now he has yet to watch a single film because he was still setting it up. [Laughter] That brings me to the topic at hand.
This is probably the point of the stories: at this era we have named “information age,” the average person must be in possession of a wider range of knowledge just to live a satisfactory life. It is true that before, when you dialed the telephone in the morning to make a long-distance call, you’re lucky if you get to talk to the person you’re looking for by the afternoon. And back then, people were so happy to receive a reply to a letter from the other side of the world within a decade—you thanked God for that fortune. Now, we have Skype. Right, it’s Skype? I don’t call a lot of people overseas. To Skype, you have to know what buttons to press on your computer and you have to know how to connect your computer to the telephone so you can internet. Before, research would take you weeks in the library. And you literally had to go through all the material one by one. You’d also have to send up a little prayer to get the right hundred-pager book that contained the information you needed. Isn’t that right? Now, there’s Google Search. We have Google. But these technologies are only useful, provided that you know how to use a keyboard or how to log on to the pertinent websites. Hopefully, you also know how to sift the information; you have to be sure whether the sites you go to are credible.
From this day on, we can provide the youth with better opportunities to acquire information, to learn. We have gathered to launch a program that will change the education system of our country: the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
Can we not compare the 10-year basic education program to force-feeding? You are given ten years to take in, to chew on, and to digest the lessons. There is no time for the children to savor the knowledge they are receiving. You just keep feeding and feeding them. The result: information is not processed as well as it should be, context is not a given and thus not applied, and the implications on the greater majority of Filipinos are not explained. Which is why, sometimes, information enters one ear and exits the other; in a matter of days, what has been learned has been forgotten.
Our government has promised: no one will be left behind on the straight and righteous path. And through our transformation into improved quality education, there is progress for all—whether you are poor or rich. That we can display the skill and excellence of our youth, we will give our students ample time to learn concepts, understand their abilities, and recognize proper actions and conduct.
My father once told me: “Once you have imbibed the knowledge, it is yours for life regardless of what happens to you in the future.” And this is true: what wisdom we have gained, we keep that for as long we live. I have also been told, “You may have been famous then, or you may be famous now; tomorrow, you’re going to be old news. You may be rich now, but come tomorrow, you’d be poor.” But when you learn something, that is yours for life. No one can take that away from you. This knowledge will be with us as we face the world, as we make our decisions and as we take part in our society, and as we share ourselves with God and with our fellowmen.
Think about this: we are the only country in Asia, and among the three remaining countries in the entire world, that run a 10-year basic education cycle. We are unique in Asia and there are only three countries like us in the entire world—the two others are in Africa. How do we expect the Filipino to compete with the rest of the globe, if we are already disadvantaged by the number of years we spent in schools and the breadth and depth of our studying? The odds are stacked against us even before we begin. What we want are robust foundations to the education that future generations of Filipinos will receive.
The choir that sang so well a while ago—so, of course, we couldn’t sing along—is now looking at me askance: “Is that a good thing? That we’ll have to go through an additional two years?” But think about it: If we were to take the same test with our competitors overseas, they already have the advantage of having studied for two years longer. Just like if I were to read this speech, but had only a minute to read it beforehand—as against someone who had been given two minutes to read it. It won’t be a fair fight; I’d perform worse than the other guy.
The rival with this plus-two-years advantage then gets the job, and we will have to find other opportunities. We cannot let this happen.
We stand by our promise of reform in the education system: to turn this into the central strategy of investing in our most important asset—the Filipino people. We trust that with K to 12, Juan de la Cruz will be empowered to seek and attain progress not only for himself and for his family, but for the entire country.
On this day, we take a step forward in realizing systemic reform in education. But in light of this, it is still quite clear that there remains a long journey before us. We are aware that due to the transition phase, there may be delays and there may be sacrifices to be asked of the students and of our schools. There can never be a perfect, universal solution to our problems—but the guarantee we give you is a stronger education system for the long haul, one that is focused on the future of our nation.
Alongside this, we continue to address the problems the education sector faces—from building or renovating classrooms and fixing school utilities, to the training of our teachers and the acquisition of books. And by the way, we’re aiming to eventually have our reading materials tablet-based. To those from my generation, I’m not talking about tabletas. [Laughter] To be clear, I’m talking about PC tablets. Because in case we find errors in these materials, you just tell the servers to correct the information. We would need to recall hundreds of books. And we’re looking for ways for a lock-in in the system to prevent theft. Ultimately, it will be easier for the student, who will likewise become more IT-knowledgeable in the process. We are just waiting, Brother Armin, for the prices to go down, and as it is they’re already close to target.
We can do all these through the 238.8 billion-peso budget we have allocated to the Department of Education this 2012. [Applause] That’s more than a 30-billion-peso increase from the past year, and Brother Armin will probably increase this further for the next year. [Applause]
However, your problem is Joel and Miss Defensor of CHED are present today, and they might ask increase in budget as well. [Laughter] Just please don’t take everything away from me.
We have long ago proven that our programs are not written on air; we strive to produce results from the promises we make. And the returns of every investment of this government go to the nation.
I once again thank the agencies that have helped us as we tread the straight and righteous path, that we may reach this day: to those who compose DepEd, CHED, and TESDA, along with every individual and the groups that have assisted us in attaining this victory.
And to our countrymen: may you continue to place your trust in us and stand in solidarity with this government’s initiatives. In turn, you can rely that this government will continue to institute the reforms necessary to fulfilling the brighter future of the Filipino nation.
This will be all for me. I have to return to that meeting I had abandoned. I, again, thank all of you. Today is the beginning of enduring change.
Thank you very much.