Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday instructed all DOLE regional directors and Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) managers, particularly in sugarcane-producing regions, to consider children of sugar workers, as part of the list of SPES beneficiaries, a move which she said will ensure social protection of vulnerable groups.

In a memorandum, Baldoz said the District Tripartite Council of Ormoc-Kananga, through the DOLE Regional Office No. 7 and the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, has requested the Bureau of Local Employment, to give priority to the children of sugar workers as beneficiaries of the Special Program for the Employment of Students.

“The BLE has found the request to be reasonable and to be consistent with the Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016 which, among others, promotes social protection of vulnerable groups,” said Baldoz.

She said the inclusion of children of sugar workers as SPES beneficiaries will help curb child labor and ensure that they go to school which could earn them a bright future. It will also allow the DOLE regional offices to cover more SPES beneficiaries.

Baldoz’s instruction comes with a condition and this is compliance with the requirements and conditions in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9547.

Under Section 2, Rule V of the IRR, “the DOLE shall serve a program manager of the SPES”. It also states that the DOLE shall provide the necessary technical and administrative assistance to all its regional and field offices.
Established in 1992 under Republic Act No. 7323, which was amended by RA 9547, the SPES assists poor, but deserving, students pursue their education by encouraging employment of those in secondary level during summer and/or Christmas vacations and of those in the tertiary, technical, or vocational education levels any time of the year.

The SPES is open to all qualified high school, college, or vocational/technical students, and out-of-school youth of poor families who seeks to develop their intellectual capabilities and harness their potential for the country’s development.

In 2012, the DOLE fully utilized its SPES budget of P340-M by providing short-term work to 138,635 students. In the first half of this year, 132,052 beneficiaries have already been enrolled in the SPES, reflecting 88 percent of the expected 200,000 SPES babies targeted under the P441.5-M program.

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