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Bad news for students seeking summer jobs under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) in the MIMAROPA region because slots this year will be limited due to a 77 percent cut in its budget in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), a local official said Thursday.

Luis Evangelista, DOLE field officer in Palawan, said in a Kapihan hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on April 25 that from P21 million in 2018, this year’s SPES budget is only P7 million for the whole MIMAROPA.

He said that currently, there are 300 applicants in the city government and 600 in the provincial government under the SPES.

“Ito kasi ang isang nakakalungkot, ang SPES budget na dapat counterpart ni DOLE ay ang laki ng ibinaba. Noong 2018 umabot ng around P21 million sa buong rehiyon pero ngayong taon umabot lang ng P7 million. Gan0on kalaki ang ibinaba kaya ang mga proposed number of job seekers ay hindi namin mapapagbigyan lahat. Hindi po kayang i-accomodate sa ngayon,” he pointed out.

The situation will affect all the applicants since under the SPES, DOLE will shoulder 40 percent of the salaries and the remaining 60 percent by the local government units (LGUs) that will take them in.

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Beneficiaries are being selected through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), he said.

SPES requires also a maximum of 72 days and a minimum of 20 working days.

“Sa Palawan ang mga partners namin ay mga local government units, at 60-40 kami sa payment [or salary ng mga bata]. Ang pumipili ng beneficiary ay si employer through the PESO. Nagsu-submit sila ng pledge of commitment na nakalagay kung ilan ang estudyante nila and ilang days,” he said.

SPES is mandated under Republic Act No. 9547, also known as “the Act to help poor but deserving students pursue their education encouraging their employment during vacations, through incentives granted to employers”.

SPES aims to develop the intellectual capacities and mold the potentials of the students from poor families. It also helps students pursue their education by providing income or augment their income by encouraging their employment during summer and Christmas vacations.

It is exempted from the election ban, Evangelista said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.

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