TUGUEGARAO CITY, PHILIPPINES- About 14,911 students will benefit from the over P40 million fund allotted for the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) this summer, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Region 2 said.
In a press release, DOLE Regional Director Sixto Rodriguez, Jr said his department had already coordinated with various local government units (LGUs) and private establishments in Region 2 for the solicitation of their pledges.
As of last week of March, Rodriguez said they have already approved 13,927 pledges coming from the five provinces of the region.
“This is a yearly undertaking of DOLE 2. I would like to express my gratitude to all the LGUs and private establishments that pledged to participate in this year’s implementation of SPES,” Rodriguez, a lawyer, said.
Among the provinces, Isabela has the highest number of target beneficiaries with 5,816 students expected to share the P15.65 million allocation.
In Cagayan, about 4,585 students will be employed with the budget of P12.33 million for their salaries.
For Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, equal target of 1,528 students for each province was set with an allocation of P4.11 million for their salaries.
In the province of Batanes, target number of students to be employed under SPES is 1,454, with an allotment of P3.91 million for their salaries.
DOLE will pay 40% as counterpart of their salaries, Rodriguez said.
“Education is the best weapon to overcome poverty. With SPES, poor but deserving students are given the opportunity to finish their studies by providing them descent wage employment during their vacation,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also said they allotted P750,000 for the 1-year insurance coverage of all the SPES beneficiaries. This was pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines and the DOLE 2’s advocacy of social protection to all workers,
The SPES Act was initially amended by RA 9574 in 2009. It expanded the program’s coverage, to include the out-of-school youth or student drop-outs who have good track record, but were forced to stop schooling due to financial constraints, encouraging them to enroll in the next school term. Private establishments were also encouraged to take part in SPES.
The new SPES Law, RA 10917, which was enacted in July 2016 aims to aims to expand the coverage of the program to include not only poor but deserving students and out-of-school youth, but also dependents of displaced workers, and would-be displaced workers due to business closures or work stoppages, or natural calamities, who intend to enroll in any secondary, tertiary or technical-vocational institutions.
Under the SPES, employers of the students, LGUs or private instutions, will pay 60% of their salaries while the remaining 40% will be paid by the DOLE.
However, under RA 10917, the DOLE’s counterpart for the salary of students employed by low-income LGUs may be increased up to 75%. Northernforum.net