About 1.3-million first-time jobseekers will annually be exempted from paying fees on government-issued documents that are inordinately expensive for those without a regular job after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the First-Time Job seekers Act, which he co-authored in the Senate.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said this was a classic example of the government giving priority to the welfare of its people over revenues.
While the law would lead to millions of pesos in foregone government profits, it would provide financial relief to cash-strapped job seekers, he said.
“Searching for a job can be costly and this measure can help to ease a bit the financial burden first-time job seekers are faced with,” Angara said.
“The costs of looking for work often lead to perverse outcomes where job seekers, having fallen into debt to meet these costs, find themselves worse off and even unable to pay for basic thngs like food.”
Angara expressed hope that the law’s implementing rules and regulations would be expedited so that the recent graduates looking for work could avail themselves of the benefits under the new law.
Senator Joel Villanueva hailed the recent signing of the First-time Job seekers Assistance Act (RA 11261) that waives government fees and charges on the documents needed by first-time job seekers for their employment.
“We warmly welcome the signing of our bill into law as this will financially aid our youth in finding employment,” he said.
Under the measure, those who can avail themselves of the incentive are the new graduates who completed the K-12 program, a bachelor’s degree or a technical-vocational course from any school, college, university or technical or vocational institution in the country.
Students taking a leave of absence or those working part-time while enrolled were also qualified to avail themselves of its benefits, he said.
Angara also said the new law would complement the Free College Education Law that he co-authored.
Data show that job applicants pay as much as P2,000 for their employment requirements notwithstanding other expenses such as additional money for transportation and food, among other things.
First-time applicants will only be asked to submit a barangay certification as proof that they are first-time job seekers. The law covers not only fresh graduates but also out-of-school youth.
According to a study by the Asian Development Bank, the regulations and restrictions on employment arrangements are one of the strong factors influencing school-to-work transition.