COA endorses web-based system for student employment program in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 April) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 12’s ongoing rollout of its online or web-based processing system for the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) has received a major boost with its endorsement by the Commission on Audit (COA).

Ofelia Domingo, DOLE Region 12 director, said Tuesday COA auditors have acknowledged that the new system has rationalized and rendered the implementation of the SPES in the region more efficient.

She said the auditors issued the endorsement for the program following an assessment of its initial implementation last year.

“The COA auditors were appreciative of the online SPES implementation, particularly in terms of the speedy release of the beneficiaries’ salaries,” she said.

The official was referring to DOLE’s 40-percent counterpart in the beneficiaries’ salaries, which are based on an area’s prevailing minimum daily wage rate. The employing offices and establishments shoulder 60 percent of the pay.

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.

Prior to the implementation of the online SPES system, Domingo said COA issued an “alarming” report regarding numerous cases of unclaimed SPES checks and delayed release of the beneficiaries’ salaries.

DOLE-12, which launched the system in February last year, was the first-ever region in the country to implement the innovative program.

The new system mainly features online application or registration, query and report generation facilities.

A webpage was specifically set up for all downloadable SPES-related forms or documents and other program updates and reports.

“We adopted the system to fast-track and ensure transparency in all processes involved in the SPES, starting from the registration of student-beneficiaries to the payment of their salaries and benefits,” Domingo said.

The official said the region’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) managers are currently assisting the mainstreaming of the new system.

She noted that the success of the online system also relies on the efforts of the PESO managers.

DOLE-12 earlier trained PESO personnel in the region on the implementation of the online SPES system and other program components, she said.

In August last year, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz personally endorsed the replication of the online SPES system in other DOLE regional offices in the country.

“The program is being used as benchmark for the SPES implementation and efforts are underway for its scaling up to the other regions,” she added. (MindaNews)