Department 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.