Cebu News

Gealon: Where is SPES fund?

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  A Cebu City councilor is again asking where the salary of the beneficiaries of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is.

Councilor Rey Gealon said he has received several complaints on the unreasonable delay of the salary of those undergoing the SPES program of DOLE through the Department of Manpower Development and Placement (DMDP).

“I wrote to Department Head Fidel Magno to shed light on the matter in the hope that this will be addressed the soonest,” said Gealon.

Gealon said any further delay will definitely defeat the noble objective of this program.

In his letter addressed to Magno dated September 21, 2022, the councilor stated that according to the complainant, they have not yet received their salaries despite the lapse of nine months.

“They were asked to submit certain requirements to you for the processing of payroll. However, they were asked to submit the said requirements again because the documents were allegedly lost, therefore, their payroll could not be processed,” the letter read.

“The department head's response is crucial for this office to enact legislation that would prevent the same issue from recurring,” Gealon told The Freeman.

Gealon will sponsor a resolution directing the DMDP to expedite the process covered by the SPES towards the release of the salaries of all the beneficiaries.

Last June, the 15th Sangguniang Panlungsod also requested the DMDP to fast track the processing and release of salaries of the beneficiaries under the SPES.

The SPES aims to provide temporary employment to poor but deserving students, out-of-school youth (OSY), and dependents of displaced or would-be displaced workers during summer and/or Christmas vacation or any time of the year to augment the family’s income to help ensure that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education.

The qualifications to be part of the youth employment-bridging program include students or OSY at least 15 but not more than 30 years of age; combined net income after tax of parents, including his/her own, if any, does not exceed the regional poverty threshold; students must have obtained a passing general weighted average (GWA); and OSY must be certified by the local social welfare and development office (SWDO) as OSY.

In a response letter to Gealon dated September 28, Magno said that upon receiving several phone calls complaining about the delay in the SPES salary, he called up a special meeting with the offices concerned wherein he learned about the “serious procedural lapses that hound the controversy now.”

As stated in the response letter: “In the year 2022 SPES implementation, serious procedural lapses had happened for the following:

1. DMDP allowed the SPES beneficiaries to work in the absence of Employment Appointment and its just last week it was prepared but yet partial for only 180 beneficiaries because we are still waiting for 162 beneficiaries to comply with requirements. The 342 beneficiaries already ended their SPES work.

2. Relax or may be not requiring the submission of documentary requirements for SPES beneficiaries as per Republic Act No. 7323.

RA 7323 is an act to help poor but deserving students pursue their education by encouraging their employment during summer and/or Christmas vacations, through incentives granted to employers, allowing them to pay only sixty per centum of their salaries or wages and the forty per centum through education vouchers to he paid by the government, prohibiting and penalizing the filing of fraudulent or fictitious claims, and for other purposes.

Magno observed that the applicants were taken from accommodation without the screening process to coincide with the criteria as set by the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 7323. Thus, there are those beneficiaries who are not supposedly qualified but are taken in by the program, especially in the economic status.

He added that documentary requirements as prescribed by R.A. 7323 are not given importance that lead to non-compliance by SPES workers done working, stressing that these documents are very necessary to satisfy DOLE's 40 percent salary counter-part. — GMR (FREEMAN)



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