GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 February) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 has set aside around P43 million for the implementation this year of its flagship Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES).
Mary Jane Hoksuan, supervising labor and employment officer of DOLE-12, said Monday such allocation will cover for the salaries and benefits of the 11,771 students that the agency is initially targeting to enlist for the program this summer.
She said such figure was based on the 10-percent increase from last year in the number of beneficiaries set by DOLE central office.
“That is just our initial target and could still increase as we implement the program,” Hoksuan said in a forum here.
SPES is a flagship program implemented by DOLE to assist poor but deserving students and out-of-school youths intending to pursue their education to gain employment during summer, Christmas vacation or any time of the year.
The initiative, which has a maximum annual cycle of 52 days per beneficiary, mainly caters to students in the tertiary, technical or vocational level.
DOLE provides for the 40 percent of the beneficiaries’ salaries, which is based on an area’s prevailing minimum daily wage rate, while the employing offices or establishments shoulder the remaining 60 percent.
Non-agriculture workers in Region 12 presently receive a minimum daily pay of P270 while agriculture plantation and non-plantation workers get P248 and P243, respectively, based on Wage Order XII-17 issued by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
In 2013, Hoksuan said DOLE-12 spent a total of P31.1 million and enlisted some 10,701 students in the region for the SPES.
She said last year’s total number of SPES beneficiaries was up by nearly 50 percent from the 7,213 in 2012. The agency spent around P20.5 million for the program that year.
In 2011, DOLE-12 disbursed a total of P11 million for its 40 percent share in the salaries of the 6,005 beneficiaries.
Meantime, the agency feted six companies and offices in the region that have employed the most number of SPES beneficiaries last year.
Gaisano Dadiangas Inc., which operates the Gaisano Mall of GenSan, topped the list with 155, followed by Philippine Cinmic Industrial Corporation here with 61; Dole Philippines Inc. in Polomolok, South Cotabato with 55; Ace Centerpoint in Koronadal City with 55; Array Foods Corporation (Jollibee franchisee) in Koronadal City with 50; and Energy Development Corporation in Kidapawan City with 25. (MindaNews)