AMANDA LAGO, GMA News
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is setting aside P340, 282,000 for disadvantaged college students to have short-term jobs this year under the Special Program for the Education of Students (SPES).
Strengthening the SPES is one of DOLE’s priorities for 2012, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in press conference. Last year, the program proved effective in supporting the poverty reduction effort and preparing underprivileged youth for productive employment, she added.
“Forty percent of the students’ salaries comes from the SPES budget, while 60 percent comes from the private sector companies na naghire sa kanila,” Jose de Leon, DOLE’s Media and External Relations division, told GMA News Online over the phone.
“Binibigyan din sila ng konting background training para i-prepare sila sa magiging trabaho nila,” he added.
De Leon noted that most of the SPES beneficiaries were hired by information technology companies and other private sector establishments.
Some of them also end up working in government offices, according to the DOLE media expert.
He described SPES qualified students as college students, 18 or older, and “mostly sons and daughters of poor parents.”
Baldoz said the department has earmarked a bigger budget for the program this year. “The amount is higher by P39,034,000, or 13 percent more than the P301,248,000 SPES budget in 2011.”
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s Kasanayan sa Hanapbuhay or KaSH program, another youth employment assistance program under the DOLE will also benefit from the DOLE budget, the Labor chief noted.
KaSH will get P1.344 billion or 47.1 percent of DOLE’s P2.854 billion budget this year, she said.
SPES was established in 1992 under Republic Act No. 7323, later
amended by RA 9547. The program accounts for part of the students’ salaries to encourage employers to hire them during the summer or Christmas vacations.
Baldoz said that last year, there were 119,045 SPES beneficiaries, the highest number so far and a significant increase from the 77,727 beneficiaries in 2010. — VS, GMA News