Press Release
August 7, 2016


Senator Sonny Angara has commended the passage of a bill that strengthens the government's Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), which provides short-term job opportunities to help students pursue and continue their education.

Republic Act 10917, which lapsed into law, aims to expand the coverage of SPES to include not only poor but deserving students, but also out-of-school youth, dependents of displaced workers, and would-be displaced workers due to business closures or work stoppages, or natural calamities, who intend to enroll in any secondary, tertiary or technical-vocational institutions.

"Dapat ay mabigyan natin ng oportunidad pati ang mga out-of-school youth na makapagpatuloy ng pagaaral. Sa halip na mapilitan silang tumigil dahil gipit sa pera, pwede na silang mag-apply ng trabaho at kumita ng kaunti para sa kanilang pagaaral kahit hindi pa sila gradweyt," said Angara, former acting chairman of the Senate labor committee and the sponsor of the recently enacted law.

The SPES was instituted in 1992, under Republic Act 7323, to help poor but deserving students in pursuing their education by encouraging establishments and government agencies to employ them during summer and Christmas vacations.

Under the new law, out-of-school youth and those enrolled in the tertiary, vocational or technical education may be employed at any time of the year, while students enrolled in the secondary level shall be employed only during summer and/or Christmas vacations.

RA 10917 also extends the SPES employment period from 52 days to 78 days or three months, and raises the age limit of the program's beneficiaries from the current 15 to 25 years old to 15 to 30 years old.

Students who are employed in activities related to their course may earn equivalent academic and practicum or on-the-job training credits.

In 2015, the SPES program provided jobs to 169,246 students, who were hired as food service crews, customer touch points, office clerks, gasoline attendants, cashiers, sales ladies, promodizers, as well as in clerical, encoding, messengerial, computer and programming jobs.

Employers pay in cash 60 percent of the salary of student beneficiaries, while the remaining 40 percent is shouldered by the government to be paid also in cash to be used for the students' tuition fees and other education-related expenses including their daily allowance for food and transportation in going to school.

"We expanded the law's coverage and lengthened its duration para mas maraming makinabang na mga estudyante at kabataan. Mabibigyan po natin sila ng mas patas na pagkakataon para mag-aaral at i-angat ang antas ng kanilang buhay at ng kanilang mahal sa buhay," said the senator who is a known advocate of educational reforms.

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