Like in the previous elections, the nationwide implementation of the Special Program for Employment of Students(SPES) is now under threat to be freezed with the imposition of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) of the prohibitions on funding disbursements and releases including hiring of employees.
Comelec Resolution No. 9585 prohibits the release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds from March 29-May 13 this year.
Resolution No 8737 which takes effect from March 26 to May 10, prohibits heads of national and local government offices to appoint or hire new employees whether on a permanent, provisional, temporary, substitute, or casual basis. They are also not allowed to create and fill in any new position.
The SPES is mandated under Republic Act No. 9547 also known as an Act to Help Poor But Deserving Students Pursue Their Education By Encouraging Their Employment During Summer and/or Christmas Vacations.
The SPES is open to all qualified high school, college or vocational students or drop-outs and interested employers.
SPES seeks to develop the intellectual capacities of children of poor families and harness their potentials for the country’s well being by assisting poor but deserving students pursue their education by providing income or augment their income through encouraging their employment during summer and/or Christmas vacations.
“Right now, there is an appeal of our central office to the COMELEC asking for its exemption from the election ban so that this will continue this summer season,” said Engineer Henry Balangatan, district head of the Department of Labor and Employment(DOLE).
He said that there are 2,000 high school, college, vocational and drop out students in Nueva Vizcaya alone which will be affected by the imminent prohibition on government fund disbursements and releases particularly for local government units.
LGUs shoulders the 60 percent of the daily wages of the beneficiaries during the duration of their work for the summer/vacation season which accounts for P4.8 million in Nueva Vizcaya while DOLE’s 40 percent counterpart is at P 3.2 million.“There is a need for LGUs to speed up their disbursement of funds for the salaries and wages of SPES beneficiaries in their respective jurisdictions so that they will be ready enough before the prohibition takes effect. Otherwise, SPES beneficiaries will be paid or totally tapped after the election ban,” Balangatan stressed.He however reminded that the SPES payments should ideally be released before the election ban so that they can use their payment for the coming enrollment and opening of classes in June this year. (PNA)