Press Release
December 28, 2013

Koko labor dept. to pay salaries of students in summer job program

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to immediately settle the delayed salaries of poor students under its summer youth job program in order not to dislocate their studies.

He said that the delay in the release of salaries of 356,702 poor working students last year as recently reported by the Commission on Audit (COA) is a serious matter that must be given due course by the DOLE in keeping with the objectives of the program.

Pimentel said that DOLE's failure to release the salaries on time under its summer youth job program, known as Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), has adversely affected several students, especially those in Western Visayas.

He said that the COA found out that 5,266 students in Region 6 and more than 4,000 each in Metro Manila, Davao and Regions 11 and 13 failed to receive their salaries, the reason why some were forced to take a leave from their studies.

Pimentel scored the DOLE for its failure to follow the rules which state that payment should be made to claimant students within 11 days, resulting in checks becoming stale or unreleased in the total amount of P82.574 million.

He said he could not understand why the DOLE did not take time to put the summer job program for poor but deserving students in order as some 36,702 checks were not released to their recipients, lasting for up to 474 days.

The Mindanao senator, who is also the president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, asked the DOLE to work close with local government units (LGUs) to prevent an impasse in the future, especially now that some students rely on the SPES program to get enrolled.

Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, pointed to the need to thresh out problems that are normally documentary in nature by coordinating closely with the LGUs to assure the students of their salaries on time during the forthcoming summer break.

He lauded the objective of the DOLE program which was started in 1992 by then President Corazon Aquino to make the students busy with jobs and keep them away from the influence of drugs and other juvenile misdemeanour.

Pimentel said that the SPES could fill in the void caused by the scrapping of the scholarship programs of legislators, whose major source of funds, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), was ruled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

He said that many students, meanwhile, have lost interest in collecting their delayed salaries from the DOLE, a bad sign that might affect the SPES program next year when the students again go on summer vacation at the close of the second semester.

This is the reason why, Pimentel said, that the DOLE must put its act together to forestall more problems to crop up as it prepares for the continuation of the summer youth job program next year.

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