Senator Joel Villanueva, chairperson of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development, on Tuesday welcomed the Senate approval on second reading of Senate Bill No. 1629 or the “First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act" which exempts fresh graduates and out-of-school youth from paying government fees and charges on documents needed for their job application.
“We thank our colleagues in the Senate for supporting this measure. We hope that our counterpart in the House of Representatives will soon pass a similar measure that will ease the burden of our first-time jobseekers,” said Villanueva, author and sponsor of the measure.
First-time jobseekers include fresh graduates, students who have taken leaves of absence and out-of-school youth.
The measure, which the senator dubbed as “Kontra-Tambay” bill, aims to address the uncertainty being faced by fresh graduates on their school-to-work transition, and to shoulder the cost of fees and charges in acquiring government documents.
According to 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 further shared that it usually takes a high school leaver up to 3 years to find a first job while it takes a college graduate 1 year to find a first job. The ADB study also said that regulations and restrictions on employment arrangements is one of the strong factors influencing their school-to-work transition.
The senator further cited some of the pre-employment documents a fresh graduate needs which include: (1) Police Clearance Certificate; (2) NBI Clearance (3) Barangay Clearance; (4) Medical Certificate; (5) Birth and/or Marriage Certificate; (6) Tax Identification Number; and (7) Other documentary requirements issued by the government that may be required by employers for first-time jobseekers.
Villanueva noted that fees and charges for the said documents may cost up to P2,000. This does not include other expenses for food, fare, printing, and appropriate clothing for job interviews.
The bill, if passed into law, would greatly benefit around 600,000 fresh graduates annually.
“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.