The top official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has scored the Arroyo administration’s poor performance on student employment.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz over the weekend said DOLE’s Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) under the nine-year presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got to employ only 353,746 poor students.
Baldoz added that for the past five years under the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the SPES was able to employ 691,333 poor students.
For 2015 alone, she said, the program gave jobs to 169,246 students.
In 2014, 182,573 students were employed; 167,569 students in 2013; 138,635 students in 2012; 120,312 students in 2011; and 84,786 students in 2010.
Baldoz said this performance showed “a 95-percent increase in the number of the SPES beneficiaries under the Aquino administration” from the Arroyo administration’s output.
The SPES aims to help poor students around the country to get jobs and gain skills at the same time.
According to IBON Foundation, Filipino workers who were hired starting 2011 were mostly part-timers because the labor policy of the Aquino administration, it said, is to give part-time jobs to these workers.
In a previous interview with The Manila Times, Rosario Bella Guzman, IBON Foundation Research Department chief and executive editor, said as of April 2015 the Philippines has 39.6 percent part-time workers, 58.2 percent full-time workers and 2.2 percent on-call workers.
Last year, there were 38.7 percent part-time workers, 59.3 percent full-time workers and two percent on-call workers.
In 2013, there were 34.5 percent part-time workers, 63.8 percent workers and 1.7 percent on-call workers.
Guzman said, “The huge percentage of part-time workers should not surprise anyone precisely because that is the result of the Aquino administration’s labor policy.”
Baldoz said of the special program, “Not only were these young people given the opportunity to earn money to support their education [through the SPES]. What’s more important was that they earned or gained the necessary basic skills to prepare them for the world of work.”
“The SPES is an opportunity to enhance the employability of the youth, who will eventually be the next generation of the country’s workforce. More than giving the students gainful experience while earning some cash they can use when they go back to school, we want a long-term result of the SPES program by means of increased employment opportunities to the beneficiaries,” she added.
Under the program, students are paid with a minimum wage of which 40 percent is given in the form of a voucher applicable for payment of tuition and books in any secondary, tertiary, vocational or technical educational institution.
The remaining 60 percent is released to the students in cash by their employers.