Press Release
October 31, 2009

Productivity amidst semestral break

While students are given a week or two of vacation Senator Edgardo J. Angara promotes student employment program to hire less fortunate but deserving students for seasonal work.

"I'm hoping that with the innovations in the existing SPES (Special Program for Employment of Students), the country can inculcate an attitude of discipline and forbearance among the Filipino youth," said Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines.

Angara filed bill to amend the 1992 Republic Act 7323 -- an earn-learn program to develop work ethics among youth and expand opportunities to strengthen discipline and provide training ground for the youth

The bill seeks to strengthen the program by broadening its application to allow students enrolled in high school to work during semestral, Christmas and summer breaks, and tertiary and vocational/technical students to work throughout the year.

As provided, companies with 10 employees or more may employ students 15-25 years of age and pay them accordingly. Private companies are required to compensate the students not less than the minimum wage level, while government agencies are to pay the students the applicable national or local hiring rates.

He added, "Students who wish to avail of this opportunity are encouraged to take on jobs that are relevant to their studies. In turn, as an innovation of the proposed bill, their work may be credited into their course curriculum as determined by their employer(s) and scholastic authorities."

Among the more common means of work for students to earn in the country are serving as assistants and being crew members in fast-food giants and restaurants, video rentals and internet shops, bookstores and technical shops. In the European Union and North America, it is common practice that students can, while completing their studies, work as interns in relevant organizations and government agencies--paid accordingly as provided by their labor laws.

"Most working-student schemes in schools are merely a return-of-service for the scholarship grants they are enjoying, often times, they are not paid, (as their studies and dormitory expenses are already covered). In effect, the students usually do not earn extra and do not get the opportunity to save their own earnings while at the same time developing their skills. We ought to provide opportunities and ensure that these hard working students get the best experience and proper compensation for the effort they put in." notes Angara.

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