Baguio Council bats for pursuit of special program for the employment of students

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested the Cordillera office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-CAR) and the city’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO) to push through with the implementation of the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) in the city on modified service scheme like work from home, output-based work method or by scheduling the working period by the last quarter of the year or when the prevailing crisis situation normalizes.

In a resolution, city legislators stated that cancelling the SPES implementation, which is a noble program, will surely create sizeable effect on those affected students, especially that the job and income of their parents have been greatly affected due to the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Further, the council pointed out that the cancellation of the SPES could be one of the major factors for alleged higher number of potential number of out-of-school youths (OSYs) in the city.

While there is a need to ensure the welfare and safety of the youth and students, especially during the health crisis, but the council pointed out that  the same can also be an opportune time to craft adjustments by coming out with potent ways and innovative measures for the efficient implementation and continuation of the students employment bridging program as part of the new normal situation.

According to the council, since the government has implemented ECQ in Luzon as a precautionary measure against the rapid spread of the dreaded Corona virus Disease (COVID) 2019, SPES implementation every summer was interrupted leaving the grantees waiting when and how the program will be implemented under the new normal circumstances as they are expecting such special work privilege to help them in their studies.

Based on the data obtained from the PESO, there are some 400 aspirants under the SPES were able to pass the stringent screening for this year’s batch of beneficiaries of the government’s program for the employment of students.

Moreover, the city legislative body asserted that the suspected grantees of the program are bonafide city residents who are physically fit and are capable to work and whose age range from 15 to 30 at the time of the registration scheduled earlier part of this year.

Unde4r the guidelines of the program, SPES beneficiaries will be entitled to receive the prevailing minimum wage in the city for services rendered where 60 percent of their accumulated salaries will be shouldered by the city government while the remaining 40 percent will be subsidized by the DOLE and will be issued through an education voucher addressed to the school where the beneficiaries are enrolled.

The SPES was established by virtue of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7323 as amended which is a is an employment bridging program that aims to provide temporary employment to disadvantaged youth to augment their family’s income and help ensure that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education.

The target groups of the program include students belonging to marginalized and vulnerable families, OSYs committed to go back to school, and dependents of displaced or would be displaced workers.

By Dexter A. See
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