DOLE: First-time jobseekers can only avail of pre-employment assistance once

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — Jobseekers eligible for waived pre-employment document fees may only avail of the assistance once, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Friday.

This comes after the DOLE, along with 15 other agencies, made official the joint operating guidelines for the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act (FTJAA).

“Ito ay pagbibigay apirmasyon — naroon ang pagkakaisa na magkaroon ng katuparan ang paghahanapbuhay ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na ‘yung first-time jobseekers,” Labor Secretary Benny Laguesma said.

[Translation: This is to affirm that there are joint efforts to help our countrymen find work, especially first-time jobseekers.]

The law has been in place since 2019, but the joint operating guidelines were only institutionalized due to challenges in the implementation of separate agencies.

“Nakita natin ‘yung pagkakaiba sa pag-identify ng first-time jobseekers. May iba ring agencies na nahirapan kung ano ‘yung magiging basis nila,” said Patrick Patriwirawan, DOLE Director for the Bureau of Local Employment.

[Translation: We saw differences in identifying who first-time jobseekers are. There were also agencies that found it difficult to determine what their basis would be.]

Under the FTJAA, K-12 and college graduates, technological vocational education and training graduates, and even out-of-school youth, regardless of age, are qualified for the program. They will only need to get clearance first from their barangays, the DOLE said.

Laguesma said he was hopeful the waived government fees will help ease the burden of more Filipinos.

Around 300,000 first-time jobseekers have benefited from the law since 2019.