IPIL, ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY 1,512 Sibugaynon beneficiaries of Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) immediately received their salaries totaling to P13,463,244.60 for the current year, thanks to the Department of Labor and Employment 9’s (DOLE 9) enhanced SPES online system.

The program is being implemented by the DOLE 9 through its Zamboanga Sibugay Field Office (ZSFO) and the province’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO).

Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo shared that SPES is one of the DOLE’s youth employment-bridging programs which aims to provide beneficiaries with short-term job opportunities any time of the year to help them continue their education in any secondary, tertiary, or technical-vocational institution.

She added that through the amended SPES law, the age qualification of applicants has been raised from 15 to 25 years old to 15 to 30 years old, at the time of application

The program has also expanded its reach by targeting not only the poor but deserving students, but also the out-of-school youth, or those who are not enrolled in a formal educational or training institution; and dependents, whether student or out-of-school youth, of displaced or would-be displaced workers due to business closures, work stoppages, or natural calamities.

With the use of SPES Online System, conceptualized by Director Domingo, payouts to beneficiaries are shortened from the previous process cycle time of one to two months down to just 5 days. DOLE, for its part, benefitted with faster processing and monitoring since hard-copy of documents need not be brought to the Field Office and even to the Regional Office anymore.

The use of the online system lessens the cost on the use of checks and also eliminates stale checks in the process.

The system also serves as a database where beneficiaries’ profiles are stored – this way they need not submit documentary requirements every time they avail of the said program. In addition, feedback from clients is immediate. Personnel productivity has also increased as a result of process simplification.

In Zamboanga Sibugay, 36 employers participated in the SPES amounting to a total grant of P18,214,165.92 for 1,958 beneficiaries. Of this number, 33 employers have completed the employment period and already paid their 60% wage counterpart in the total amount of P7,952,953.92.

For its part, DOLE already released the 40% counterpart amounting to P5,510,290.68. The claim of the remaining 446 beneficiaries involving a total amount of P4,750,921.32 is still being processed subject to compliance of the post-employment requirements.

The SPES beneficiaries handled different tasks and responsibilities such as administrative work, clerical work, and cleaning & greening activities.

The students also receive their salaries easier thru M Lhuillier as the financial intermediary partner. Beneficiaries need not go to the bank and queue through long lines just to encash their checks as this mode of payment is accessible in most municipalities. END/Ma. Antonette Entera, ZSFO Outsourced