ZAMBOANGA CITY – 150 young Isabelenos received wages for rendering their services under the Department of Labor and Employment’s Special Program for the Employment of Students or DOLE-SPES on May 30, 2018 at Isabela City, Basilan Province.

The Local Government Unit of Isabela City employed the students for 22 working days doing clerical/administrative work for various government offices.

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 during summer and/or Christmas vacation or 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.

Another amendment in the SPES law is the extended period of employment. From the previous 20 to 52 days, SPES beneficiaries may now be employed from 20 to 78 days; except during Christmas vacation when employment is from 10 to 15 days only.

Isabela City Field Office Head, Ma. Elena T. Alabata, reported that beneficiaries were paid in cash where the local government or the employer shouldered 60% of the applicable minimum wage while the remaining 40% shall be paid by DOLE.

Each SPES beneficiary shall receive a total of Php 8,483.93. Isabela City Mayor Al-Qaid Akbar together with PESO Rosella Torralba Luna distributed the City’s share of Php5,090.36 (60%) to all SPES worker-beneficiaries while the remaining Php3,393.57 (40%) will be paid to them by DOLE.

Each year, the City Government under Mayor Akbar has steadily increased the number of SPES worker-beneficiaries and has committed to do so again in the following years considering the importance of providing financial assistance for work done, veering away from the usual dole-outs.

Moreover, SPES beneficiaries will also now be entitled to an insurance coverage under the Group Personal Accident Insurance of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for a period of one year.

(With reports from Marlyn Anoos, ICFO)

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