BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment allocated PHP18.88 million for this year’s Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) or commonly known as the government’s summer job program implementation in the Cordillera Administrative Region. This amount represented the DOLE’s share for the payment of salaries for its beneficiaries.

DOLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman said the budget is a regular fund of the DOLE-CAR for SPES and is distributed to the different provinces based on poverty incidence, population and absorptive capacity of the provinces. Kalinga had a share of PHP3.06 million; Abra, PHP2.96 million; Ifugao, PHP2.91 million; Baguio, PHP2.91 million; Benguet, PHP2.64 million; Apayao, PHP2.5 million; and Mountain Province, PHP1.9 million.

As of this date, 70 employers committed to employ 4,813 beneficiaries. Of the 70 employers, 67 are LGUs/SCUs and three (3) are private establishmnets/schools. As of May 10, 2019, there are 1,914 beneficiries who already started working. 146 more students will be deployed this May.

The primary objective of the SPES Program is to help poor but deserving students pursue their education by employing them.

 “The salary that the students will receive is intended for their enrollment for the next school year. The salary of the SPES beneficiary is jointly paid by the employers concerned and DOLE”  Guzman added.

The amount of DOLE counterpart in the salary of SPES beneficiaries vary depending on the class of LGUs. Private employers, national government agencies (NGAs), and 1st to 5th class cities and provinces, and the 1st to 3rd class municipalities shoulder the 60 percent of the prevailing minimum wage while the 40 percent will be paid by the DOLE.

“5th class municipalities will pay 40 percent of the salary while the DOLE will pay the 60 percent. The 6th class municipalities will pay 25 percent of the salary and the remaining 75 percent will be paid by the DOLE.” Guzman explained.

In a related development, Tim Zamora of the Public Employment Services Office in Baguio City  said there are 400 students who will benefit from this year’s SPES program. This will be divided into two batches to give way to the two schedules adopted by schools in the city where some end on March while others this May 2019, Zamora said. The students will work for 25 to 30 days with a salary of PHP503.09 per day.

The SPES is a flagship program of DOLE that enables poor but deserving students pursue their education while experiencing the real world of work. Students aged 15 to 25 who are enrolled in the current school year are eligible to avail of the government’s assistance. The beneficiaries must have obtained a passing grade and their parents’ joint annual income must not exceed PHP130,620.00 or above the regions poverty threshold.

In 2018, around 6,000 students in various provinces of the region benefited from the SPES program

END/Patrick T Rillorta