The labor department has scored a milestone with a record 272,709 youth beneficiaries of its special student employment and internship programs.

Citing a report from the Bureau of Local Employment, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said of the total beneficiaries, 229, 674 completed the Special Program for Employment of Student (SPES) while 43, 035 trainees developed work competencies after their exposure to the DOLE Government Internship Program (GIP).

“Through the SPES and GIP program of DOLE, we are enhancing the employability of youth workers and improve their job competencies,” Bello said.

With the support of other government agencies, SPES is an annual summer employment program for students to immerse in government as well as hone their sense of leadership and public service.

The GIP on the other hand provides three-month internship opportunity for college graduates who are pursuing a career in government.

BLE Director Dominique Tutay said a 10.47 percent increase in the total number of beneficiaries were noted with 229,674 SPES trainees in 2016 compared to the 207,898 recorded in 2015.

On the said data, DOLE RO 3, RO 12, and RO 7 were among the top three regions which got the highest number of beneficiaries at 26,108; 22,328; and 20,688 respectively.

In terms of age, the age level between 15-18 years old still remains the major group in the SPES workforce with 110,554 or 48 percent of the total number of interns, followed by the 19-21 yrs. old bracket with 82, 503 students, and the 22-25 yrs. old group which gathered a total of 36,617 SPES beneficiaries.

DOLE has recorded a total of 3,061 government and private employers who participated in the implementation of the program in 2016. 1,314 of them were from the Local Government Units (LGU); 118 from various state universities and colleges; and 31 from other national government agencies.

On the side of the participating private sector employers, 1,269 were private establishments; 307 were private educational institutions; and the remaining 21 were non-government organizations.

The data also noted that the engagement of private sector in the program increased to 22 percent or 1,309 in 2015 to 1,597 in 2016, while in the government sector, a 12 .5 percent increase or a total of 1,464 have been involved in the program in 2016.

The 2016 SPES report also showed that a total of Php 817.96 million pesos were accounted for the program. Out of this amount, Php 708.75 million was through the General Appropriations Act (GAA); Php 57.67 million was sourced from the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) and the remaining Php 51.53 million came from the 2015 continuing funds.

The newly amended SPES law extends the age limit of the beneficiaries from 15-25 to 15-30 years old and raises the number of work days or the period engagement of the beneficiaries from 20-52 to 20-78 days.

On the side of the DOLE Government Internship Program (GIP), the BLE report noted a total of 43, 035 youth beneficiaries resulting into a 114.2 percent accomplishment rate which surpasses the national target of 37,694 beneficiaries in 2016.

BLE Director Tutay stated on the said number of interns, 15,615 of which came from Visayas; followed by the Luzon group with 15,043 interns and last is in Mindanao with 12,377 GIP beneficiaries.

DOLE RO VIII ranked the highest among all the regions which recorded a total of 8,402 interns, followed by RO XI with 4,654 interns, RO VI with 4,190 beneficiaries, and CARAGA Region with 3,732 interns.

The report also revealed that in terms of gender, the female GIP beneficiaries have outnumbered that of the male interns with a total of 24,289 or 56.44 percent of the total number of beneficiaries gathered in 2016 over the 18,746 or 43.56 percent male interns.

The said interns were assigned at various government offices throughout the country. 33,657 of which were assigned at different Local Government units; 19,415 at cities, municipalities and provinces, while the barangays have accepted 11,211 youth GIP beneficiaries.

Furthermore, a total of 8,565 interns were assigned at other government agencies; the Public Employment Service Office or PESO have hired 3,031 youth beneficiaries; and 813 interns were designated at DOLE Regional offices.

“We believe that through the close coordination and efforts of DOLE Regional offices and agencies with major stakeholders and partner agencies have greatly contributed to the success of the GIP Program. Without our partners, we would never have achieved and surpass our targets for this program,” Bello added.

Tutay on the other hand stressed that the said programs have been producing competitive and productive interns since its commencement. The stakeholders have been absorbing and immediately hiring the interns as soon as their internship has ended.

“DOLE-GIP provides good training grounds for interns most especially for fresh graduates. They become more informed of the career that they will be undertaking and become more competitive in various industries and jobs,” Tutay added.

#Paul Ang with reports from BLE

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