Press Release
February 24, 2010

Jinggoy urges students, employers to reap benefits from new SPES law

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has urged the country's schooling youth as well as employers to maximize all the benefits and opportunities provided in the improved Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) law which he principally authored and sponsored.

The new SPES law (Republic Act 9547), enacted on April 2009 and which introduced needed amendments to the original 1992 SPES Act, was based on Senate Bill Number 6 filed by Estrada on June 2007. As chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and the joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, he sponsored the measure and firmly worked for its enactment.

The SPES provides opportunity to poor but deserving students to get employed during summer and Christmas vacations to enable them to earn Education Vouchers used to pay for school expenditures; acquire on-the-job training and experience; accumulate academic credits in school as well as skills-and-probation credits for their future permanent employment; and, earn money to help their families.

"SPES is an excellent legislation but it needed improvements so I personally pushed for the adoption of such improvements on the old law to make it more effective and relevant to present and future conditions as well as to increase the number of students and employers that could benefit from the program," Estrada said.

Among the amendments he sponsored that were included in the new SPES law were:

1. expanding employers' participation by lowering the required minimum number of their workers - from 50 to ten - for them to be able to employ poor but deserving students during summer and/or Christmas vacations;
2. setting a fixed maximum period for such employment of students so as not to adversely affect their studies;
3. rationalizing the combined family income benchmark to be determined by the NEDA for applicants to the program;
4. more effective facilitation of applications to be conducted by the Public Employment Service Offices (PESO);
5. imposition of heavy penalties on those who would refuse or dishonor Education Vouchers earned by the students during their employment; and,
6. ensuring a stable funding for the program through the National Budget.

"I urge and even challenge all students and employers to maximize the benefits of this improved SPES law. This is one great solution to the unemployment and underemployment problem in our country. I always believe that given the proper support and encouragement, our students, many of whom belong to the underprivileged sector of our society, could make a big difference not only in their lives and their families but also in the future of our country," Estrada concluded.

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