Noy signs public service employment bill into law

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino signed into law yesterday the bill amending the Public Employment Service Act of 1999 to further help people in rural areas secure jobs more easily.

The new law will expand and strengthen the government’s Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) where 5.66 million out of 8.09 million job applicants managed to find employment through its assistance from July of 2010 to June of 2015, Aquino said, citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a speech during the 15th National Peso Congress, the President said placement rate under PESO also increased from 74 percent in 2010 to 83 percent in 2014. He told participants he would not mind if the rate would reach 95 percent or even 99 percent.

The new measure creates PESOs in all provinces, municipalities, cities and other strategic areas throughout the country.

Aside from the institutionalization of PESOs, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said other salient features of the amended law include the creation of permanent plantilla positions for PESO personnel, as well as improved labor market information and employment facilitation service through computerized systems of monitoring, coordination and reporting.

Baldoz said the DOLE is ready to draft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the amended law.

“By November we have to finish the IRR and it will become effective after 15 days of publication. So by early next year the law will already be effective so we can prepare for the change of local executives after the May elections,” Baldoz told reporters in an interview.

To date, there are PESOs in 75 provinces, 142 cities and 1,374 municipalities, which may be collectively credited for up to 4.45 million job placements between 2010 and 2013.

Aquino said since the beginning of his term, the administration had always sought to open new opportunities for the people through good governance. He noted that various programs and projects were launched to address job-skills mismatch and bring back investor confidence in the Philippines.

Aquino stressed the 1,925 PESOs would no longer be “unfunded” as the amended law would allow local government units to allot funds for these from their Internal Revenue Allotment.

“There will also be a position for a PESO manager and one labor and employment officer. I am hoping that this will improve the ability of the LGUs to address unemployment… Local government units know the opportunities in their areas better and they can make jobs more accessible to our bosses,” Aquino said.

The new law, Aquino said, also intensified the information dissemination on the labor market and the services to expedite the hiring of applicants.

“In short, the capabilities of the PESOs were modernized,” the President said.

Through PESO, Aquino said various government data had been fixed, noting that right information would lead to best solutions to the country’s problems on employment.

When they started, the President said there were only 35 cities covered by the National Skills Registry and after updating the official database, 1,081 municipalities and cities were implementing the system through the help of PESO.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, sponsor and co-author of Senate Bill No. 1386 that sought to amend the PESO Act, said earlier that in many instances, successful PESOs functioned as one-stop shops for employees and served as a conduit to government offices for essential services such as processing of passports and helping repatriated overseas Filipino workers.

The President said PESOs were also helping provide livelihood and not just job opportunities for people.

Angara noted the Commission on Higher Education reported approximately 656,000 graduates this year in need of jobs. “According to studies, it can take 18 months to two years before new college graduates can land a job,” Angara, who was present during the signing along with other lawmakers, said.

Angara stressed the need for stronger PESO policies to address the failure to adequately disseminate labor market information, such as job vacancies, to people living in the provinces.

Aquino also said the administration expanded and strengthened the PHIL-JobNet, the free online job matching and labor market information portal of the government to further help Filipinos find employment.

At one point, the President said there were 200,000 job listings for only 100,000 applicants. He added PHIL-JobNet could now identify specific jobs for high school graduates, women, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and OFWs and could now be viewed through iOS and android applications.

In DOLE and LGU offices in the whole country, Aquino said access to labor market information was provided through Job Search Kiosks. He said the government has allotted a total of P44 million for 200 additional kiosks and upgrading of 110 initially launched.

The President said the Special Program for Employment providing financial assistance and job experience for indigent students was improved and the budget for it grew from P162.8 million in 2010 to P697.7 million this year.

“That is why from 353,746 beneficiaries under the past administration, (the number) of ‘poor but deserving students’ we have helped has reached 793,219,” Aquino said. – With Mayen Jaymalin


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