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Senate panel tackles bill exempting first-time jobseekers from gov’t fees

/ 04:24 PM August 22, 2017

Applicants look for work at a recent Labor Day job fair organized by the Department of Labor and Employment. (File photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A Senate panel tackled on Tuesday a bill seeking to exempt first-time jobseekers from paying fees and other charges collected by various government agencies for the issuance of documents needed for employment.

The Senate Committee on Youth discussed Senate Bill No. 1426 or the “First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act,” which exempts first-time job seekers from paying documents usually required in the course of employment locally or abroad.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, who chairs the committee, said the waiver of fees and charges would serve as an effective “activation strategy” to connect first-time jobseekers to job opportunities in the country.

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“Ang hirap naman pong isipin na iyong mga kabataan natin may skills pero dahil walang pera upang makakuha ng NBI clearance, birth certificate, at iba pa, ay hindi makapagtrabaho,” Villanueva was quoted as saying in the hearing.

If passed into law, the bill would exempt first-time job seekers from paying police clearance, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, barangay clearance, medical certificate, birth or marriage certificate, tax identification number, community tax certificate, certification of eligibility, authentication and red ribbon of documents, and other documentary requirements issued by the government and may be required by employers.

The measure does not include, however, those collected in connection with an application to take a professional licensure examination, application for a Philippine passport, application for a Career Service Examination, and application for a driver’s license.

At present, Villanueva said, first-time jobseekers face serious challenges, especially in the production of pre-employment documents.

“The fees and charges collected by various government agencies for the issuance of the aforesaid documents add to first-time jobseekers’ burden, most especially those who come from lower and middle-income families. For students who were forced to take a leave of absence because of their fragile socio-economic situation, the cost is particularly burdensome,” Villanueva said.

The senator added that the struggle poor fresh graduates and early school leavers or dropouts face when securing the required documents might not only make them feel “a loss of motivation to join the labor force” but also contribute to long-term joblessness that could result into skill depreciation and lower confidence to face the world of work.

However, it is specified in the measure that the application for such license, proof of identification, clearance, certificate, or other documents will be submitted within one year after graduating or taking a leave from high school, college, or any technical vocational course in any mode of learning.

The bill stipulates that before a waiver can be availed, a certified true copy of the first-time jobseeker’s diploma, certification, or leave of absence (LOA) from the concerned academic, vocational, or technical institution that the said individual has successfully completed the course required or has earned academic units must be submitted by the applicant. /atm

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TAGS: first-time jobseekers, First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act, Joel Villanueva, pre-employment requirements
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