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Zamboanga Peninsula Region

PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 19, 2012

DOLE-9 hold reorientation on expanded SPES in Isabela City

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Jan 19 (PIA) –- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Zamboanga Peninsula held, Monday, a re-orientation cum pledging session to institutions and employers in Isabela City on government’s students’ employment program implementation.

DOLE officer-in-charge in Isabela City Wesley Tan said the department is implementing the year-round Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) for 2012, pursuant to Republic Act 9547, an act strengthening and expanding the coverage of SPES.

Outgoing DOLE-9 Regional Director Ponciano Ligutom said the program aims to help poor but deserving students pursue their education by encouraging their employment during summer and or Christmas vacations for secondary level and year-round for tertiary and vocational or technical levels, thereby providing income to finance, augment, or subsidize their studies.

“This is the new feature of our program, where students can work year-round provided that this will not affect their studies,” Ligutom stressed.

He clarified, however, that the assistance is given to poor students “not because they do deserve it but that no one deserves to be poor.”

“Human resource is the best resource of the country. It is common knowledge, however, that many of our young people are not in school because of poverty. Thus, the government sets up SPES,” he said.

He underscored the important role of public and private institutions in the success of the program as they are encouraged to employ students and commit to shell out 60% of the student’s minimum wage.

When asked about the dearth of would-be employers because of the difficulty to produce the counterpart, Ligutom replied quoting that “no one is so rich that does not need, and no one is so poor that can’t give.”

Moreover, he said that the incentive must come from within the person or values of the employer and not from any monetary reward or benefits that the government can offer. He appealed to employers to think more of what they can do to help the youth than for their personal or institutional gains.

The new SPES hopes to implement its new feature in releasing government’s share of 40% to beneficiaries through the use of a cash card. He said that releasing the money through checks have caused some problems in the old SPES system. He did not elaborate.

DOLE has allocated some P19-million for Zamboanga Peninsula for the implementation of SPES this year. Isabela City gets some 3% share of that or an equivalent of Php572,640.00 allocation. (JPA/RVC-PIA9 ZBST)

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