Support out-of-school youth, Angara urged

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara has urged the national government to give more support to out-of-school youth by prioritizing their inclusion in the current summer job program to assist them in go back to school and pursue their education.

A known advocated of educational and labor reforms, Angara is the sponsor of Republic Act 10917 or the law for the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) to broaden coverage by considering not only poor students but also out-of-school youth.

“Marami sa ating mga kabataan ang napipilitang huminto sa pag-aaral dahil gipit sa buhay ang kanilang pamilya. Dahil ditto, pinalawak natin ang sakop ng batas para mabigyan ng oportunidad ang mga out-of-school youth na kumita at matustusan ang kanilang pagbabalik-eskwela,” the senator said.

The first SPES law seeks to be of aid of poor but deserving students to continue their studies by encouraging establishments and government agencies to hire them during summer and Christmas vacations.

To further bolster the program, the news SPES law states that out-of-school youth, college and technical-vocational (tech-voc) students may be employed at any time of the year. High school students, however, shall be employed only during summer and/or Christmas breaks.

According to Angara, the RA 10917 raised the age limit of the beneficiaries of the program from 15-25 years old to 15-30 years old. The SPES employment period was also extended from 20-52 days to 20-78 days.

During the period of employment, services rendered that are relevant to the course of the beneficiary will equate to practicum training credits, while the period of employment of SPES beneficiaries who were eventually hired as employees by the same employer shall form part of their probationary period.

Sixty percent of the salary of the beneficiaries will be shouldered by the employer, while the remaining 40 percent will be provided by the government. The entire salary should be paid in cash.

“Such salary should be used to pay for tuition fees and other education-related expenses including their daily allowance for food and transportation,” Angara mentioned.

With more than PhP 700 million funding, the Deparment of Labor and Employment (DOLE) disclosed that about 164,000 youth benefitted from the SPES program nationwide last year.