DOLE 2 targets 14,911 students for SPES this year

TUGUEGARAO CITY — The Department of Labor and Employment- Regional Office No. 2 (DOLE 2) has allocated some PHP40.114 million to benefit 14,911 students under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) this year.

DOLE 2 Regional Director, Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez Jr. said his office has coordinated with various LGUs and some private establishments in Region 2 for pledges.

“As of today, we have already approved 13,927 pledges coming from the five provinces of Region 2,” Rodriguez said.

“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 stated.

“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,” the lawyer director added.

Among the provinces in the region, Isabela has the highest number of target beneficiaries of 5,816 students with an allocation of PHP15.65 million as DOLE 2’s 40% counterpart for their salaries.

In the province of Cagayan, target number of students to be employed is 4,585 with PHP12.33 million allocation for their salaries.

For the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, equal target of 1,528 students are set with an allocation of PHP4.11 million each for their salaries.

In the province of Batanes, target number of students to be employed under SPES is 1,454 with an allotment of PHP3.91 million for their salaries.

Meanwhile, pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines and the DOLE 2’s advocacy of social protection to all workers, an amount of at least PHP0.75 million is allocated for one year insurance coverage of all the SPES beneficiaries.

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 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 RA10917, the DOLE’s counterpart for the salary of students employed by low-income LGUs may be increased up to 75%. Reginald B. Estioco/