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Bill exempts first time job seekers from fees and other govt charges

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure waiving the government fees and charges for first time job seekers.
Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City), chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, said House Bill 6416 mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs), not to collect fees or charges from new graduates in relation to documentary requirements for employment.
Rep. Eulogio R. Magsaysay (Party-list, AVE), one of the authors of the measure, said the bill prohibits all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs), from collecting fees or charges from fresh graduates seeking employment within one year.
“Every year, fresh graduates from high school, college and vocational schools foray into the job market where competition is always tough. They have to contend with processes and formalities particularly paper works, which if not circuitous or unnecessary are expensive,” Magsaysay said.
Rep. Harlin C. Abayon (1st District, Northern Samar), another author of the measure, said the waiver of fees must be taken not as a loss of revenue for the government, but as an investment in its emerging labor force, which would be in its best interest to protect.
“It is a simple measure that intends not only to provide relief but also to show the State’s commitment to promote the interest of the youth,” Abayon said.

Rep. Linabelle Ruth R. Villarica (4th District, Bulacan), co-author of the bill, said the State must provide an employment-friendly atmosphere for fresh graduates. This policy will effectively protect the interest of the youth and facilitate access to employment.
Rep. Mark A. Villar (Lone District, Las Piñas City), also an author of the bill, said it is not surprising for a young person, fresh out of college and aspiring to have a decent opportunity and livelihood, to find himself at a loss on how to pay for the many-pre-employment documents, clearances and applications required of him by a prospective employer.
“The bill seeks to address this situation not be means of a dole-out, but by a reasonable waiver of the fees collected by government for various clearances, applications, licenses, and other documents from fresh graduates wanting to work and to be productive members of society,” Villar said.
It also creates an inter-agency monitoring committee chaired by the Executive Secretary and composed of the heads of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Finance (DOF), the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to monitor compliance.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.