Senate passes on 3rd reading fee exemption bill for first-time job seekers

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NBI clearance center

THE Senate approved on third reading a bill that will exempt new graduates from paying fees in the process of obtaining government documents for their first jobs.

The Senate on Monday approved Senate Bill No. 1629 or First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act on third and final reading.

“We welcome the huge support of our colleagues in prioritizing this significant measure that will benefit our fresh graduates and out-of-school youth who usually face difficulties as they undergo school-to-work transition,” said Senator and author of the bill Joel J. Villanueva in a statement on Monday.

Mr. Villanueva, who also chairs the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, added that this bill will benefit around 600,000 graduates annually once it becomes a law.

The first-time Jobseekers Assistance Act was also authored by Juan Edgardo M. Angara, Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay, Antonio F. Trillanes IV, Loren B. Legarda and Leila M. de Lima. The senate committees responsible for preparing the bill are the Committee on Youth; Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation; Ways and Means; and Finance.

Documents needed in order to apply for a job include a Police Clearance Certificate; a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance; Barangay Clearance; Medical Certificate; a birth certificate, a marriage certificate if applicable; a Tax Identification Number (TIN); and other government documents, which Mr. Villanueva estimated could cost P2,000 for first-time job seekers.

Once the First Time Jobseekers Act is signed, applicants availing of the benefit will be required to submit an affidavit asserting that they are first-time job seekers.

Section 7 of the bill reads, “A first-time job seeker shall only be entitled the benefits provided under this Act only one (1) time within one (1) year from the date of graduation or the leave of absence or enrolment.” — Gillian M. Cortez