By Ben Rosario
Fresh college graduates will soon be freed from paying government fees and charges imposed for the issuance of documents required in their job application.
Cagayan Rep. Randolph Ting, chairman of the House committee on labor and employment, aired strong optimism that the bill will provide new graduates this benefit will be passed on third and final reading when Congress resumes session next month.
The Lower House has approved House 172 on second reading before adjourning for the Christmas break early this month. It will calendar the measure on the floor for third reading action in January.
HB 172 is a consolidation of eight bills filed separately by Representatives Jericho Jonas B. Nograles (PBA Party-list); Victoria Isabel Noel (An Waray Party-list); Raul Tupas (LP, Iloilo) and Harlin Abayon (Aangat Tayo), among other authors.
Former Rep. Mark Villar, now secretary of public works, and his wife, Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, now undersecretary of justice, also authored separate bills.
Ting said HB 172 proposes to provide assistance to new graduates and make it easier and economical for them to land jobs.
Under the bill all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and –controlled corporations and local government units will be barred from collecting fees or charges from new graduates who seek the issuance of documentary requirements for employment.
HB 172 creates an interagency monitoring committee to be chaired by the Executive Secretary to oversee the implementation of its provisions.
In filing the bill, Tupas noted that unemployment rate in 2016 was 5.4 percent.
At least 21.9 percent of the unemployed are college graduates, 14.4 percent college undergraduates and 28.1 percent high school finishers.
“The unemployment rate for the age group of 15 to 24 years old is significant and it is important to assist individuals belonging to this group since they are part of the population that are entering the labor force,” Tupas explained.
He added the bill supports government’s bid to provide fresh opportunities for development by creating a support system that will improve access to education.