Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz urged students and out-of-school youths who wish to earn this summer to apply for the summer work program under the DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES).
“I urge all students, including those who dropped out from school, to join the SPES program. SPES is an opportunity for our youths to have gainful employment so that they could continue their education,” said Baldoz.
Baldoz made the move after receiving initial reports from the Innovation Poverty Action (IPA), a non-profit organization based in Connecticut, USA, on the low turnout of SPES applicants in Regions 3, 6, 7, and 11.
According to the said report, there are 12,109 vacancies in Region 3. These vacancies are in the municipalities of Dinalupihan, Bataan; Guagua, San Fernando, Capitol of Pampanga, and Angeles City in Pampanga; Capitol of Zambales, Masinloc Zambales, Olongapo, Bataan, and Sta. Cruz in Zambales; and Talavera Nueva Vizcaya.
There are 4,461 vacancies in Region 6. These vacancies are in Bago City, Dumanggas, and Kabankalan City in Cebu; Victorias City, Sagay, and Talisay and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental; Bacolod City in Bacolod; San Jose, Malay, Pandan, Sibalom in Antique; Mount Carmel College and ESTEMCO.
In Region 7, there are 4,265 vacancies. These are in the municipalities of Sta. Catalina, Bayawan, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Guihulngan, Bais, Canlaon, Mabinay, and Larenain Negros Oriental; Liloan, Igu, Cebu City, Carcar, in Cebu; and Bohol.
There are 2,818 vacancies in Region 11. These are in the municipalities of Davao City, Davao del Norte, Panabo City, Monkayo, Tarragona, Kapalong, Samal, Tagum City, New Bataan, Mati, Maco, Mabini, Manay in Davao, and Davao del Sur.
The SPES, which is mandated under Republic Act No. 9547, assists poor but deserving students pursue their education through employment during summer and/or Christmas vacations.
“Tertiary, technical/vocational students and out-of-school youth who are 15 to 25 years old can find work in their local city hall or in any of the participating private companies,” said Baldoz, adding that interested applicants should visit the nearest DOLE regional offices or Public Employment Service Office (PESO) to apply.
According to Baldoz, to qualify for the SPES Program, students must be enrolled during the present school year or term, immediately preceding the summer vacation, and dropouts who are interested to avail of the program must intend to continue their schooling.
The SPES applicant must have also earned a passing grade during the school year/term, or in case of dropout, the last year/term attended. Students or dropouts whose parents have been displaced or about to be displaced due to business closure or work stoppage are also qualified to avail of the program, provided they meet all other requirements.
Private sectors employ SPES beneficiaries mainly as food service crews, customer touch points, office clerks, gasoline attendants, cashiers, sales ladies, “promodizers”, and many other positions. LGUs participating in the SPES assign the students to clerical, encoding, and messengerial duties, as well as other computer and programming jobs.
Under the SPES, DOLE shoulders 40 percent of the salaries of beneficiaries, while their employers–government agencies, such as local government units, and private companies and other sponsor-institutions–pay the 60 percent.
SPES is a bridging mechanism that enables student-beneficiaries to gain skills and workplace experience. It responds to the President’s 22-Point Labor and Employment Agenda which calls for the DOLE to work with relevant government agencies in enhancing social protection programs as well as the Emergency Community Employment Program (ECEP) to create jobs immediately so people can still have income to spend for their basic needs.