By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) has suspended the implementation of the Special Program of Employment for Students (SPES) Batch 1 for high school and senior high school students that was supposed to commence next month.
The SPES’ first batch, according to the DepEd’s Youth Formation Division (YFD), was scheduled to commence on April 6. The YFD, in an advisory, announced the suspension in line with President Duterte’s directive on the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon and DepEd Order No. 34, s. 2020, as precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, the YFD said the SPES for College Students Batch 2 “will still pursue on its schedule – which will commence from June to August.” Nonetheless, it clarified that the “possibility of a suspension may also apply if the COVID-19 outbreak continues.”
On March 16, President Duterte announced the ECQ in Luzon to address the threat of COVID-19. In a televised address from Malacañang, he said that the decision was a result of a “further study of worldwide trends and measures and the need for extreme caution during such times as these.” The ECQ will run until April 13.
What is SPES?
The SPES is an annual summer employment program that encourages students to make their vacation productive by working during summer thereby earning extra which they can use during regular school days.
Through SPES, DepEd provides equal opportunities for students and out-of-school youth from underprivileged families to harness their potential and skills for the country’s development.
One of the goals of the SPES is to “immerse the youth in the government and hone their sense of leadership and public service.” The program aims to “instill inspiration and hope in young people” and with the help of SPES, DepEd also “aspire to aid the students in their education.”
The “summer” job is spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and supported by other government agencies. Based on the guidelines in teh previous years, the qualified applicants for SPES will be paid minimum wage—60 per cent of which will be paid by DepEd and 40% by DOLE. The DepEd SPES trainees are also expected to be given an additional daily allowance on top of their salaries.
The SPES is mandated under Republic Act No. 9547, otherwise known as “An Act to Help Poor but Deserving Students Pursue their Education by Encouraging their Employment during summer and/or Christmas Vacations.”