DOLE sees faster SPES payment via money transfer

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 February) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 has tapped financial services provider M Lhuillier as payout channel for beneficiaries of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) in the region.

Ofelia Domingo, DOLE Region 12 director, said the move aimed to expedite the release of the salaries of SPES beneficiaries in the region’s four provinces and two cities.

DOLE-12 and M Lhuillier Financial Services Inc. sealed their partnership with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in a simple ceremony held at the Greenleaf Hotel here on Thursday afternoon.

The MOA signing was among the highlights of the regional orientation and pledging for SPES hosted by DOLE-12 and attended by officials and representatives of around 200 private companies and government offices within the region.

“This is a landmark initiative because we are the first region that has tapped M Lhuillier as conduit for this project,” said Domingo, who signed the agreement on behalf of the agency.

SPES is a flagship program implemented by DOLE that assists 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.

Under the agreement, Domingo said all payouts coming from DOLE-12 for SPES beneficiaries starting this summer will be channeled to M Lhuillier through its money transfer service.

She was referring to the agency’s 40 percent share in the salaries and benefits of the SPES beneficiaries.

The employing offices or establishments shoulder 60 percent of beneficiaries’ salaries, which is based on an area’s prevailing minimum daily wage rate.

Domingo said beneficiaries may draw their salaries in any M Lhuillier branch within the region by just complying with its basic requirements, specifically the presentation of valid identification cards.

“This system is more simplified, reliable and faster. We’re looking at adopting it also for our other programs and hopefully, it will also be replicated in the other regions,” she said.

DOLE-12 had previously used bank cheques and automated teller machines (ATM) as payout channels for the SPES beneficiaries.

But Charmaine Sonsona, DOLE-12 information officer, said the previous methods turned out unreliable due to some problems, including the typographical errors in bank cheques and the numerous requirements in the opening of ATM accounts.

She said M Lhuillier’s money transfer service appears as the best option of the SPES payout since it has branches in all but two of the region’s 50 municipalities and 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.

Cecile Lumapas, M Lhuillier’s financial services division manager, said they agreed to partner with DOLE-12 for the project as they view it as an opportunity to give back to less privileged residents.

She said the initiative is also aligned with the company’s thrust “of giving opportunity to education for the less privileged members of the community.”

“We’re doing our share by giving minimal charges to these transactions,” said Lumapas, who signed the MOA for M Lhuillier. (MindaNews)