ORIENTAL MINDORO – Under the DOLE’s Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), a total of 594 poor but deserving students and 9 Out-Of-School (OSY) youths have benefitted from this year’s summer job which provided them compensable training cum employment program. They rendered work for 20-22 days and were distributed in fifteen (15) participating local government units (LGU) in Oriental Mindoro.

Aside from training and employment experience, SPES program has provided the youths with augmentation on their family’s income through payment of salary as prescribed by the guidelines under Republic Act 10917, Series of 2016.    The LGUs where the students rendered work shouldered 60 percent of salary which amounted to Php2,239,864.00.   Forty (40) percent of the total SPES payment came from DOLE in the total of Php1,547,659.60.   While working, the students were also protected by GSIS insurance.

For many years, SPES has been found greatly beneficial to the poor but deserving students and out-of-school youths. Manny Abaon, a 17-year old Mangyan, Grade 11 student from Baco, Oriental Mindoro told: “Para sa akin, isang malaking pribilehiyo na makabilang sa programang SPES ng DOLE upang maipagpatuloy ko ang aking pag-aaral at makapag tapos kahit mahirap ang buhay.  Minsan iniisip ko kung saan kami kukuha ng pambaon para di kami magutom sa paaralan, kung paano ako bibili ng gamit na kinakailangan sa aking pag-aaral.  Mahirap ang buhay at hindi lingid sa aking kaalaman ang kakapusan sa pinansyal ng aking pamilya, kaya nagpapasalamat po ako sa DOLE dahil tinulungan po nila ako para maabot ko ang aking mga pangarap. Hayaan nyo po, pag ako na ang may kakayanang tumulong ay hindi ko po iyon ipagkakait sa iba. Maraming salamat po DOLE.” (It is a great privilege for me to render summer job under SPES so I can pursue my studies despite of extreme poverty.   There were times that I asked myself where could I get money to buy food to eat, to buy things for my schooling. But with the help of DOLE, I can now reach my dreams. When that day comes, I can also extend help to others. Thank you very much DOLE.)

Through short term employment during summer, SPES not only provides augmentation of income for the students to pursue their education; the exposure of students to workplace environment helps them to develop their intellectual capacities and harness their potentials.   With the assistance and close monitoring of Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Managers of participating LGUs, this year’s implementation of SPES sets another milestone in helping the students in both financial and practical terms.

End/Mari-jo L. Cordova