Republic Act 11261 or the “An act waiving government fees and charges in the issuance of documents required in the application for employment of first time jobseekers” was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 10.
Under the new law, all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations, local government units, and government hospitals shall not collect fees or charges from a first-time jobseeker, in connection with their application for and granting of licenses, proofs of identification, clearances, certificates or other documents usually required in the course of employment locally or abroad.

The Department of Labor and Employment, together with 18 other government agencies, has already issued the guidelines of the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act. The landmark policy will benefit around 1.3 million graduates annually.

The measure will definitely lessen the financial burden on first-time jobseekers in obtaining their pre-employment documentary requirements, and gain decent employment within a shorter period of time.

The implementing rules and regulations highlights the role of every barangay in the issuance of barangay certification, the Department of Information and Communications Technology in developing and maintaining the first-time jobseekers database, the DOLE in heading the inter-agency monitoring committee, and all other agencies in a one-country team approach, to report to one another in the implementation and enforcement of this law.

The first-time jobseeker may avail the benefits only once, and for one copy of every document or transaction only.

To avail of the benefits, the jobseeker should be a Filipino citizen who is actively seeking employment, locally or abroad as certified by the barangay of which he/she is a resident.

The jobseeker shall secure and present the barangay certification stating that he/she is a first time jobseeker and a resident of the barangay for at least six months.

The validity of availment of the benefits shall be one year from the issuance of the barangay certificate.

The first-time jobseeker may be a graduate of an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, a completer of a technical-vocational course, or a high school graduate who has completed the K-12 program.

Also eligible are the out-of-school youth, those not employed or engaged in education or training, students taking a leave of absence, or any person intending to work while enrolled in any school, college, university, or learning institution.

Among the covered government transactions are the barangay certification and clearance, police clearance, NBI clearance, medical certificate from public hospitals, except for laboratory tests and other medical procedures that are required in the grant of a medical certificate, birth and marriage certificate, transcript of academic records, certificate of graduation/completion, and/or diploma issued by state and local universities and colleges, and taxpayer’s identification card.

Other documentary requirements covered are the Civil Service Commission certificate of eligibility, PhilHealth ID, Philippine Overseas Welfare Administration certificates, mayor’s clearance issued by the Business Processing and Licensing Office, prosecutor’s clearance, municipal and regional trial court clearances, Maritime Industry Authority certificates, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority national and certificates of competencies for those who actually underwent the process of Tesda’s competency assessment.

The law does not cover application fees for taking professional licensure examination, Philippine passport, authentication of documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs, career service examination, and driver’s license.

The inter-agency monitoring committee is headed by Labor Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III as the chairperson. The members are CSC Chair Alicia dela Rosa-Bala; Department of Information and Communications Technology Sec. Gregorio Honasan; Department of Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III; Department of Education Sec. Leonor Magtolis Briones; Commission on Higher Education Chair J. Prospero E. de Vera III; National Youth Commission Chair Ryan Enriquez; and Tesda Director General Isidro Lapeña.

END/Patrick T Rillorta