The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said thousands of students nationwide are currently engaged in productive work during their summer vacation to earn money for their tuition fees and other school expenses in time for the opening of classes in June.

Acting Labor and Employment Secretary Danilo P. Cruz said that these students have been absorbed temporarily by various local government units and private firms across the country, and provided with gainful summer employment by virtue of their participation in the DOLE’s Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES).

Cruz said the SPES enables students to surmount the financial difficulties of their poor families by giving them opportunities for temporary summer or Christmas vacation employment geared at assisting them to continue or complete their education or training.

He cited a preliminary report indicating that the SPES has benefited almost 400,000 students from poor families nationwide from 2001 to 2005. The total 397,637 beneficiaries during the period comprised some 40.4 percent of around 984,840 students benefited under the special program since 1995.

Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Maria Luisa Gigette S. Imperial has apprised Cruz that the SPES for the current summer season is now on full steam implementation from March 27 until May 31, 2006, with thousands of students availing of the productive jobs nationwide.

Imperial said that the DOLE’s Regional Offices in 16 regions, in collaboration with LGUs and private employers, had targeted some 57,521 summer job opportunities for students this year.

Cruz reiterated that by virtue of Republic Act No. 7323, both the government and private employers assist poor but deserving students in pursuing their education by encouraging their employment during their summer or Christmas vacation from school.

The Acting Labor Chief said that under the said Act, a person or entity employing at least 50 persons may engage poor students for productive work during summer or Christmas with an income not lower than the prevailing minimum wage.

To qualify, students should be at least 15 years of age but not more than 25 years old, and their parents’ combined incomes must not exceed P36,000 per annum.

Sixty percent of the SPES beneficiary’s wages shall be paid by the employer in cash, and the other 40 percent by the government in the form of a voucher applicable in the payment of the student’s tuition fees and books in any secondary, tertiary, or technical-vocational institutions.

Source: Information and Publication Service

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