By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Senate has approved on third and final reading Monday a bill which seeks to exempt fresh graduates from fees and charges on government documents needed for their employment.
With a vote of 18-0, Senate Bill 1629 or the proposed First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act which would waive government fees and charge on the issuance of documents required in the application for employment of first-time jobseekers.
Under the approved bill, concerned government agencies would be mandated to waive the fees of first-time jobseekers who are securing their preemployment documents such as National Bureau of Investigation, police and barangay clearances, and proof of identification such as Postal ID, among others.
To qualify, they must show their diploma, certification or a sworn affidavit proving their recent graduation from high school, college or vocational course. First-time jobseekers also include fresh graduates, students who have taken leaves of absence and out-of-school youth.
They could only avail of the proposed exemption of government fees once.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, author and sponsor of the measure, thanked his colleagues for approving the bill.
He said bill would address the uncertainty being faced by fresh graduates on their transition from school to work.
He also urged the House of Representatives to pass a similar measure.
Sen. Grace Poe, co-author, for her part, said the bill would give fresh graduates and first-time jobseekers as “sense of relief” that they would not anymore need to pay for their documents.
Other co-authors to the measure were Senators Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Richard Gordon, Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.