The Senate ratified on Wednesday the bicameral conference committee report on Senate Bill No. 1629 or the “First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act”, a measure which exempts fresh graduates and out-of-school youth from paying government fees and charges on documents needed for their job application.
Villanueva, principal author and sponsor of the measure, said the immediate passage of the bill into law would greatly ease the financial burden of fresh graduates and first-time jobseekers in acquiring government documents they need for their job application.
First-time jobseekers include fresh graduates, students who have taken leaves of absence and out-of-school youth.
“Malaking tulong po ang panukalang batas na ito na mag-e-exempt sa mga bagong graduate at unang beses pa lang mag-apply ng trabaho sa mga bayaring may kinalaman sa mga pre-employment documents,” Villanueva, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Youth, said.
If passed into law, among the government documents which a first-time jobseeker is exempted from paying fees and charges are: police and NBI clearance, barangay clearance, birth certificate, marriage certificate, transcript of records, tax identification number or TIN, unified multi-purpose ID or UMID card, and medical certificate from a public hospital.
“Kapag pinagsama-sama po ang gastos para sa mga pre-employment document, mahina po ang 2,000 pesos at mabigat po ‘yan, Para po sa isang fresh grad na kahit pa sabihing graduate na, ang totoo, financially dependent pa rin po siya sa kaniyang mga magulang o kaanak,” Villanueva shared.
Under the bill, a proof of being a first-time jobseeker in the form of a diploma or a certification is required to avail of the exemption or waiver from payment of fees.
The proposed exemption shall only be availed of one time during the one-year period from the date of graduation or date that the first-time jobseeker left school.
In a study conducted by the Asian Development Bank entitled, “Are Filipino Youth Off to a Good Start?”, the school-to-work transition for many young Filipinos is associated with change, waiting, and uncertainty.
Villanueva shared that it usually takes a high school leaver up to 3 years to find his/her first job while it takes a college graduate 1 year to find his/her first job. The ADB study also said that regulations and restrictions on employment arrangements are one of the strong factors influencing their school-to-work transition.
“Kapag hinayaan po nating tambay ang mga fresh grad dahil hindi sila agad makakuha ng mga dokumentong hinahanap ng mga employer, mas lumalaki po ang tyansa na manakaw sa kanila ang mga trabahong napupunta lang sa mga illegal alien workers,” the senator underscored.
“Kung magkakatrabaho po kaagad ang ating mga kabataan at hindi sila tambay, makikinabang po ang lahat, lalo na ang kanilang pamilya na umaasa sa kanila, at mas sisigla pa ang ating ekonomiya,” Villanueva said.
“We are hopeful that the President will be supportive of our bill that will greatly benefit our young individuals as they enter our country’s workforce,” he added.
The bill, if passed into law, would greatly benefit around 600,000 fresh graduates annually.