House body approves bill that helps new graduates with finding jobs

The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education this week unanimously approved and endorsed for plenary action a bill that gives new graduates various privileges, benefits and incentives as they look for employment or business opportunities.

Aurora Representative Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said HB 5915, or more popularly known as the “Bill of Rights for New Graduates,” mandates the creation of a One Stop Shop in the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of every city and municipality where the new graduates can obtain their “incentive cards” which will allow them to avail of a number of privileges in their employment requirements and/or business start-ups, within one year from getting their college diplomas or their certifications from higher education institutions (HEIs).

“We included a provision in the bill that in effect exempts our new graduates from paying for government documents like NBI clearance, birth certificate, passport and business permits. By new graduates, we mean those who graduated from colleges and universities, as well as tech-voc schools,” he explained.

The former law professor likewise disclosed that payments for SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig shall also be shouldered by the government so new graduates need not worry about how to pay for these fees. Likewise, those who wish to start their own business are entitled to borrow from commercial or government banks at lower interest rates.

The proposed measure, if passed into law, will compel the country’s labor department, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Public Employment Service Offices (PESO) throughout the country to coordinate with private industries and higher educational institutions (HEI) to facilitate sharing of information on job openings.

“Our children need to know what jobs are available in their respective communities, so they can better plan for their careers,” said Angara. “Government agencies need to coordinate and collaborate on widespread career guidance programs, which in my mind, should be effective in helping our new graduates land a job in the fastest time possible.”

Citing statistics, Angara noted that there are 400,000 fresh graduates every year on average, with only about 40% securing a job within a year after graduating.

He then pointed out that to encourage companies to take in new graduates as interns or apprentices, whatever allowances or monetary payment they give the latter will be considered an allowable deduction from the future gross income of the intern once formally employed by the company.

“We designed this bill as a full package of benefits for our new graduates to address their immediate needs in their start as young professionals,” the veteran lawmaker said.

“It is not enough that we educate our youth. We need to make sure they are able to find decent jobs and economic opportunities for their families and loved ones.”

Angara expressed optimism that his colleagues in the plenary would give their nod of approval for the swift passage of this very important measure.

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