23 April 2021 – Mayor Benjamin Magalong administered the oath of office/responsibility to the first batch of the 2021 Special Program for the Employment of Student (SPES) grantees last Monday, during the city hall flag raising ceremonies.

Fifty-one (51) working students start 25 days of duty from April 19 to May 24, in various city government offices, national agencies and the courts.

Designated as Administrative Aides, the students will receive P525.05 daily remuneration; with 40% of the amount provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and 60% from the local government unit. 

Screened from hundreds of applicants, the SPES grantees are within 15 to 30 years of age, bonafide Baguio residents, and with an annual family income not exceeding P149,442. This is the income threshold from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Labor and Employment Officer (LEO) Jannah Elitan clarified.

Academically, they have to obtain a passing general weighted average grade to continue being with the program.

The SPES program may also be availed of by out-of-school youths (OSYs), with application starting January of every year.  

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic which started last year, the 2020 SPES program with around 400 student approved applications was moved to 2021. This year’s SPES program benefits around 300 students.

According to PESO Labor Employment Officer Romelda Escano, there is noticeable application withdrawal from students as fear of contracting Covid-19 looms. During a virtual orientation earlier, the grantees were instructed to adhere to health protocols such as the wearing of masks and shield, the practice of frequent hand washing and social distancing, in the work place, in their homes and while on the way to their respective offices. They are also advised to practice isolation/home quarantine or undergo medical procedures or swab when flu-like symptoms arise.      

The second batch of 187 SPES grantees start work on June 7 to July 9; and the third batch of 62 go to office on July 19 to August 20.

The SPES program is an employment-bridging program which provides temporary employment and work experience to deserving students during vacations. The scheme provides additional income for students’ expenses.

According to Executive Assistant and PESO Manager Marlene de Castro, the program is in line with Mayor Magalong’s 15-point agenda which includes empowering the youth, responsive education programs, and, expanded health and social services. – Julie G. Fianza