School-to-work assistance program
DOLE’s SPES to provide work and income of P500 million to 200,000 youth this year

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the DOLE will employ 200,000 students and out-of-school youth this year under its banner program, Special Program for the Employment of Students, or SPES, mandated under R.A. 7323, as amended by R.A. 9547.

“Our 2014 SPES budget of P500 million given by Congress has been rolled out,” said Baldoz, noting that the earliest to report update on SPES implementation is the DOLE Regional Office No. 9 which has already allocated P28.3 million out of its 2014 allocation of P30.478 million for some 14,732 beneficiaries.

“The SPES aims to assist poor, but deserving, students pursue their education by encouraging employment of those in high school during summer and Christmas vacations, and those in college, technical, or vocational level at any time of the year,” she explained.

Baldoz said the DOLE Regional Office No. 8 has reported that it has already allocated its 2014 SPES budget of P15.415 million that will provide temporary employment to 7,687 youth beneficiaries all over the region, while the DOLE Regional Office No. 7 said in a report it has already allocated P42.405 million of its P47.777 million budget for the employment of 12,032 young people.

For the rest of the DOLE regions, Baldoz said she is still waiting for updated status reports on the SPES implementation, and bared that their SPES budgets are as follows:

National Capital Region, P87.113 million; Region 1, P17.490 million; Cordillera Administrative Region, P10.458 million; Region 2, P28.067 million; Region 3, P44.751 million; Region 4-A, P33.764 million; Region 4-B, P23.360 million; Region 5, P12.915 million; Region 6, P23.192 million; Region 10, P27.049 million; Region 11, 23.277 million; Region 12, P48.008 million; and Caraga, P18.014 million.

Under the SPES, the DOLE shoulders the 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.

Started in 1992, the SPES has helped hundreds of thousands of students get education. From 2010 to 2013, the SPES has assisted 493,742 poor, but deserving, students, 42.5 percent of whom are women. In 2013 alone, the DOLE, through the program, has given income-earning opportunity to 167,569 SPES beneficiaries, assuring them of money for their education.

As a school-to-job bridging program, the SPES helps beneficiaries prepare for the world of work. SPES ‘babies’ as beneficiaries are popularly called, use their income to defray expenses for their tuition and other school expenses. Since 2010, the program has been expanded to include out-of-school youth, with no less than President Aquino III mandating increases of the SPES budget. It is also now implemented through-out the year.

END

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