by Neil Arwin Mercado, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 7, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — While the signing of the new law waiving fees on documents needed by first-time jobseekers will lead to reduced revenue for the government, Senator Sonny Angara on Tuesday said the move will give financial relief to over one million in the country annually.
Angara, who is one of the co-authors of Republic Act 11261 or the “First Time Job Seekers Assistance Act,” said that the signing of the law is an example of how the government puts the interest of people over profit.
“We express our sincerest gratitude to the President for signing into law this landmark legislation that would exempt an estimated 1.3 million first-time jobseekers annually from paying fees on government-issued documents that are inordinately expensive for people without a regular job,” Angara said in a statement.
“Searching for a job can be costly, and this measure can help ease a bit the financial burden on first-time job seekers are faced with,” Angara added.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law last April 10. It covers several government documents required by employers such as police and barangay clearance, medical certificates from government clinics and hospitals, NBI certificate, birth and/or marriage certificates, tax identification number (TIN), transcript of records from State Universities and Colleges, and Unified Multi-Purpose ID card (UMID), among others.
Angara said many jobseekers incur debts even before they secure a job due to payments needed to secure government documents for employment.
The senator said jobseekers pay up to P2,000 for documentary requirements required by employers.
“The costs of looking for work often lead to a perverse outcome where job seekers, having fallen into debt to meet these costs, find themselves worse off before and even unable to pay for basic [needs] like food,” Angara said.
The senator expressed hopes that the law’s implementing rules and regulations will also cover recent graduates who finished their studies before the law was signed.
Under the law, applicants need to secure a barangay certification to prove that they are indeed first-time jobseekers.
The law, however, does not cover application fees for taking professional licensure examination, applying for a Philippine passport, having documents authenticated from the Department of Foreign Affairs, applying for a Career Service Examination, and applying for a driver’s license. /ee