By Mario Casayuran
With schools closed for the summer vacation, reelectionist Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Saturday encouraged students to enroll in the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) this summer vacation to save up money for the incoming school year and gain relevant work experience.
“The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is implementing the SPES for our students and out-of-school youth to ensure that they will continue and finish their education. I hope that the youth will take this opportunity to learn and earn at the same time,” Estrada said.
Interested applicants may submit their documentary requirements to the nearest Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in their area.
According to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) issued by the DOLE, applicants should submit a copy of their birth certificate, Certificate of Indigence or Low Income issued by the barangay or social welfare office, copy of the student’s report card or certification as out-of-school youth issued by the barangay chairman or social welfare officer.
SPES is a youth employment bridging program which started in 1992 through Republic Act 7323. It is designed to offer temporary employment for poor but deserving students, aged 15 to 30, either through participating private companies or government agencies and controlled corporation
Under the program, high school students may be hired during their Christmas and summer vacations, while out-of-school youth and those enrolled in tertiary, vocational or technical education may be employed at any time of the year.
Estrada is the principal author of Republic Act 10917 which further expanded SPES and lengthened the employment period up to 78 days (compared to the previous provision of only 52 days). Estrada’s measure also opened the program to out-of-school youth and dependents of displaced and would-be displaced workers due to business closures or natural calamities who are intending to enroll in any educational institution. The program was then limited to currently enrolled students.
RA 10917 also allowed the students employed in activities related to their course to earn equivalent academic and practicum or on-the-job training credits during the program.
Further, it entitled the student-workers to insurance coverage with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for one year.