Different Forms of Practical Training in the Philippines Part 2: Work Immersion Program and Special
Work Immersion Program for Senior High School
The Work Immersion Program is included in the curriculum of senior high school students in order for them to apply their competencies and acquired knowledge relevant to their track. This is the traditional form of on-the-job training. Simulating actual work environment, students of public or private senior high schools and technical-vocational institutions shall apply and train for positions relevant to their chosen track. No payment to the trainee is mandated. However, fees for work immersion must only be set after consultation with the parents.
The Department of Education is strict however that the maximum number of hours spent in the work immersion venue should not be more than eight hours per day for a total of 40 hours per week and shall only be within 8 AM to 5 PM. This is in light of the complaints that they have received in previous years that students are made to perform overtime work without being fairly compensated. Furthermore, a Memorandum of Agreement, duly approved by the Department of Education, must be executed by the school and the establishment concerned.
Special Program for Employment of Students
Lastly, the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) is a program that aims to help poor but deserving students pursue college education by providing them income during summer & Christmas vacation. It started in 1992 as an “employment-bridging programme” that aims to provide temporary employment to disadvantaged youth to augment their family’s income and help ensure that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education.
Given that it primarily aims to aid marginalized students, the law provides for special qualifications in order to avail of the program. Only those 15-25 years old, enrolled during the present or immediately preceding school year/term and whose parents’ combined net income after tax, including his own, if any, does not exceed the regional poverty threshold. Dropouts may also apply for the program provided that he or she intends to continue his or her education. However, while the program provides financial assistance to the poor, it aims to do so without compromising the ability of the student to continue his or her education. Hence, the applicant must have a passing grade during the school year/term or the last year/term attended.
Only employers who have employed at least 10 workers at any given time during the past 12 months may avail of the program. Furthermore, it must be noted that student enrolled in the secondary level shall only be employed during summer and/or Christmas vacations. Students however enrolled in the tertiary, vocational or technical education may be employed at any time of the year. Additionally, the period of employment shall be from 20 to 52 working days only,for a total of 52 days a year, except that during Christmas vacation, employment shall only be from 10 to 15 days. This period of employment may be counted as part of the students'probationary period should they apply after graduation.
The employee under the program shall be paid not lower than the minimum wage.However, only 60% of the said wage shall be paid by the employer in cash. The remaining 40% shall be paid by the government in the form of a voucher which shall be applicable in the payment for the students' tuition fees and books. The Local Government Unit, through their established Public Service Employment Officer (PESO), exercises direct supervision over the program. Interested employers and employees can file their application through PESO.
The increasing unemployment rate in the country, and the consequent increase in poverty rate, has compelled the government to resort to unorthodox methods to provide decent jobs especially to the marginalized. While practical training serves as a means to nurture proficiency,it is now being used to provide suitable employment for those who do not yet have the qualifications for regular employment. Employers must not however abuse these programs for their personal gain. While indeed these programs have promising benefits on the part of the employers, it must be remembered that it was primarily structured for the integral development of the trainee or employee. The employer must impart the necessary set of skills enough to equip the trainee or employee for regular employment at the end of the program.
 § 5, Department of Education Order no 30, series of 2017.  Id.  Youth Policy Toolbox, Special Program for the Employment of Students-Philippines, available at https://yptoolbox.unescapsdd.org/portfolio/special-program-employment-students-spes-
philippines/ (last accessed July 10, 2019).  § 1, RA 9547 or Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES).  Id.
 Id.  §1 Rule II, Joint Memorandum Circular DOLE-DepEd-CHED, DSWD, DBM, DOF no 1 series of
2010  § 1, RA 9547.  Id.  Id.  Id.  Id. § 2  Id.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christian Andrew Labitoria Gallardo is a graduating student of the Ateneo Law School. He will take the bar in 2020.
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