Labor dep't program benefits 200,000 working students in 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of thousands of students benefited from the labor department's short-term employment program in 2015, a proof of the Aquino administration's commitment to “investing [in] human resources” and “talented young workers.”
This was according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which helped 202,272 students – 81% of the 250,000 target in 2015 – to get work experience under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and the Government Internship Program (GIP) as of December.
“Not only were these young people given the opportunity to earn money to support their education. What’s more important was that they earned or gained the necessary basic skills to prepare them for the world of work,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a media release on Friday, December 18.
Under the SPES, youth aged 15-25 of poor backgrounds are able to join companies as food service crew, office clerks, cashiers, and sales ladies, among other jobs, during vacations.
Aside from being entitled to benefits and privileges under the Labor Code, these students are given the minimum wage: 40% voucher-type applicable as payment for tuition and books, while 60% is paid in cash by the employers.
GIP, a component of the Kabataan 2000 project under Executive Order Number 139 of 1993, paves the way for young workers to join government offices at both the local and national levels. They receive allowances amounting to 75% of the existing minimum wage.
Consistent budget increase
Baldoz said that the programs’ consistent budget increase is evidence of President Benigno Aquino III’s support.
Based on government records, the budget appropriated to the DOLE program had a cumulative increase of 361.58% since the start of the Aquino administration.
In 2015, the SPES was given a budget of P697 million ($14.7 million) – almost 42% higher than 2014’s P419.48 million ($8.9 million).
Meanwhile, the number of SPES beneficiaries also increased together with the financial aid. From 84,786 in 2010, there are now 182,573 student-beneficiaries in 2014.
Almost 11,413 youth benefited from the P268.89 million ($5.6 million) budget of GIP this year. GIP beneficiaries in 2014, DOLE added, reached 22,522.
According to Baldoz, the GIP enables young Filipinos to get a “feel of government work” while opening up equal opportunities for those in far-flung areas.
“These internship programs of DOLE are considered as a dress rehearsal for real work, either in the corporate world or in the frontline public service,” she explained. “It is our ultimate goal to enable them to discover what they can do to contribute to the country as part of the future workforce.”
However, a Commission on Audit (COA) report stated that there was a delay in the compensation of more than 50,000 beneficiaries of the SPES in 2013. Paychecks amounting to P139,359,581.48 ($2,948,592) were given late by one to 441 days. – Rappler.com
*US$1 = P47