THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said the government stands to lose P3 billion in revenue due to a new law that waives fees for official documents needed by first-time jobseekers, but added that it views such lost revenue as an “investment” in ensuring that talented people have equal access to the workforce.

On Thursday, DoLE signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11261 or The First-Time Job Seekers Act. The law exempts first-time job seekers from paying for government documents and clearances typically required by employers. President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the legislation last April 10.

DoLE estimates that 1.3 million first-time job seekers will benefit from the law each year.

Assistant Labor Secretary Joji V. Aragon said at the signing, “While this translates to P3 billion in foregone government revenue, the government looks at this investment to bring double or triple fold return in achieving a productive human capital and workforce for the nation.”

Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique R. Tutay said in a briefing on Thursday that this law will enable first-time job applicants will save “around P1,500 to 2,500…(when they apply for) clearances from different agencies.”

Documents covered include birth certificates, barangay clearances, police and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearances, marriage certificates, transcripts of record; taxpayer IDs, the unified multi-purpose ID (UMID), and medical certificates from public hospitals.

Fresh graduates, out of school youth, and those who have never sought employment regardless of age will be the beneficiaries under the law.

The waived fees apply “whether bata ka or matanda (young or old), basta first time job seeker ka (as long as you’re a first time job seeker),” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a briefing on Thursday. — Gillian M. Cortez