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New law waives gov’t documentary fees for first-time jobseekers

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New law waives gov’t documentary
fees for first-time jobseekers
By Azer Parrocha, PNA

First-time jobseekers will no longer have to pay for fees when they acquire government documents needed for employment.

It will be recalled that on April 10, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11261, the First-Time Jobseekers Assistance Act, a copy of which was released to media just last week.

Under the new law, government fees and charges are waived in the issuance of documents required in the application of first-time jobseekers, so long as they submit a barangay certification as proof. The law covers not only fresh graduates but also out-of-school youth.

These documents include police clearance certificate, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, barangay clearance, medical certificate, birth certificate, marriage certificate, transcript of academic records issued by state colleges and universities, tax identification number (TIN), unified multi-purpose ID (UMID), and other documentary requirements issued by the government that may be required by employers.

In signing the new law, Duterte recognized the need to “promote full employment and equality of gainful work and opportunities for its citizens.”

“All government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), local government units (LGUs), and government hospitals shall not collect fees or charges from a first-time jobseeker: Provided, that such fee or charge is paid in connection with the application for and the granting of licenses, proofs of identification, clearances, certificates or other documents usually required in the course of employment locally or abroad: Provided, further, that the benefit provided under this Act shall only be availed of once,” the law read.

The law creates an Inter-agency Monitoring Committee in charge of monitoring the compliance of the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities and may recommend to the proper authorities the filing of an administrative complaint against any person who refuses to comply with the provisions of the act.

The committee will be chaired by the Labor Secretary and composed of the heads of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the departments of information and communications technology, finance, and education, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Youth Commission (NYC), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and others.

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) shall be issued within 60 days from the effectivity of the new law.

The new law is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1629 and House Bill 172, which was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives last February 6.

It shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Senator Joel Villaueva, the law’s principal author and sponsor, welcomed the signing of the law noting that it is estimated to benefit about 1.3 million first-time jobseekers annually.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said, “It takes a high school graduate up to three years to find a first job while it takes a college graduate one year to find a first job.”

“We warmly welcome the signing of our bill into law as this will financially aid our youth in finding employment,” he said in a statement. (First published by PNA, June 7, 2019)

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