GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 February) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 has launched an online or web-based processing system for its flagship Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) as it continues to rationalize the program’s implementation in the region.
Ofelia Domingo, DOLE Region 12 director, said Wednesday they adopted the online processing system for SPES to help streamline and further enhance the rollout of the initiative within the region’s four provinces and five cities.
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.
“We conceptualized this system to fast-track the processes involved in the program, starting from the registration of student-beneficiaries to the payment of their salaries and benefits,” Domingo said.
The official said DOLE-12 is the first-ever region in the country that has adopted an online processing system for SPES.
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.
Domingo said they earlier decided to adopt the online processing system in response to an “alarming” report released by the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding numerous unclaimed SPES checks and the perennial problem on the delay in the release of the beneficiaries’ salaries.
“The system will increase transparency in the involved transactions and enhance collaboration among SPES stakeholders,” she said.
The official said the new system mainly features online application or registration, query and report generation facilities.
She said a page was specifically set up for all downloadable SPES-related forms or documents and other program updates and reports.
“This is a follow-through system to the internet-based quality management system that we adopted last year,” she said.
DOLE-12 is targeting to enlist an initial 11,771 beneficiaries and allocated some P43 million for the implementation of SPES this year in the entire region.
Such funding was up by nearly P12 million from the P31.1 million that it released to some 10,771 beneficiaries last year.
Two weeks ago, DOLE-12 forged a memorandum of agreement with financial services provider M Lhuiller to help fast track the payment of the beneficiaries’ salaries through the company’s money transfer facility. (MindaNews)