Proposed law exempts fresh graduates, job seekers from paying for NBI clearance, other gov't docs

Here's good news for fresh graduates and out-of-school youth: They may soon be exempted from paying government fees and charges on documents needed for job applications.

This, after the Senate approved on final reading a bill seeking to waive government fees and charges on the issuance of documents required in the employment application of first time jobseekers.

Senate Bill No. 1629, authored and sponsored by Senator Joel Villanueva, was approved with 18 affirmative votes, no negative vote and zero abstention.

The bill was also authored by Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Grace Poe, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, Antonio Trillanes IV, Loren Legarda and Leila de Lima.

Under the bill, fresh graduates, out-of-school youths and working students who seek employment for the first time, will not be required to pay police clearance certificate, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, barangay clearance, medical certificate, birth and/or marriage certificate, tax identification number, Unified Multi-Purpose ID card (UMID) and other documentary needs required by employers.

Villanueva said the proposed exemption of government fees can be availed of once by first time job seekers.

As proof that they are first time jobseekers, he said applicants would be required to submit a duly sworn affidavit stating that he or she is either a new graduate, an early school leaver, a student taking a leave of absence, he or she is working part-time, or he or she is not engaged in education or employment.

Once passed into law, Villanueva said the "kontra-tambay" bill would help around 600,000 fresh graduates annually. He estimated that job applicants pay as much as P2,000 for employment requirements.
Villanueva cited an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study which showed that regulations and restrictions on employment arrangements were one of the strong factors influencing school-to-work transition.

"It takes a high school leaver up to three years to find a first job while it takes a college graduate one year to find a first job," Villanueva said.

According to Poe, who pioneered this legislation in 2013, an ADB survey showed that 25 percent of college graduates and 80 percent of high school graduates are unable to find work 525,600 minutes after they leave school.

"Data from the Commission on Higher Education states around 645,000 college students graduate from higher education institutions every year. Based on the ADB survey, we can expect that 20 percent of 129,000 graduates will remain unemployed," Poe said in her co-sponsorship speech.

For his part, Angara expressed concern over surveys showing that the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in Asia and the highest unemployment rate in Southeast Asia region next to India.

Angara said "government should do what it could to help new graduates find employment."

Under the bill, the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in the different provinces, municipalities and cities shall assist the first time job seekers in securing the required documents for application.

Concerned government agencies shall maintain an annual roster of all individuals who have been issued documents under the Act and submit the roster to the Department of Information and Communication Technology, which in turn shall compile a database of the beneficiaries that is accessible to all the agencies, according to the bill.

The bill also calls for the creation of an inter-agency monitoring committee to monitor the compliance of the concerned government agencies granting the waiver of fees and charges and shall impose administrative charges to individuals who shall fail to comply with the Act. SOURCE: Senate oks bill exempting job seekers from paying fees for gov't docs; Senate of the Philippines; Press Release; October 1, 2018;