Duterte signs law waiving gov’t fees for first-time jobseekers
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure that will waive government fees and charges on documents needed by first-time jobseekers for their employment.
Duterte signed Republic Act 11261 or the “First Time Job Seekers Assistance Act” last April 10, Senator Joel Villanueva, the law’s principal author and sponsor, said Tuesday.
Under the law, individuals who seek employment locally or abroad for the first time will be able to secure identification documents and clearances issued by the government for free.
These include police and barangay clearance, medical certificates from government clinics and hospitals, NBI certificate, birth and/or marriage certificates, tax identification number (TIN), transcript of records from State Universities and Colleges, and Unified Multi-Purpose ID card (UMID), among other government documents that may be required by employers.
To avail the exemption, applicants shall submit a barangay certification as proof that the individual is a first-time jobseeker. The new law covers not only fresh graduates but also out-of-school youth.
The exemption, however, does not cover fees related to an application to take a professional licensure examination, application for a Philippine passport, authentication of documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs, application for a Career Service Examination, and an application for a driver’s license.
The law will also create an inter-agency monitoring committee to monitor the compliance of government agencies granting the waiver of fees and charges. Failure to comply with the Act could result in the filing of administrative charges.
In a statement, Villanueva welcomed the signing of the law, noting that it will benefit around 1.3 million first-time job seekers annually.
He also said that job applicants pay as much as P2,000 for the said documents on top of other expenses such as for transportation, food, among others.
“Sa bisa po ng First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act, mababawasan na po ang pasanin ng ating mga fresh grads sa mga bayarin na kailangan para lamang makakuha ng mga dokumento na kailangan sa kanilang job application,” Villanueva, who also chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development.
“Malaking tulong po ang handog nito sa pagbubukas ng panibagong yugto ng ating fresh grads mula sa kanilang matagumpay na pagtatapos sa eskwelahan patungo sa kanilang job hunting,” he added.
The law takes effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper. /je
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