The House of Representatives already approved on second reading House Bill 172 embodying the proposal to waive such fees and charges during the employment application of new graduates. The bill is principally authored by former Davao City Representative and now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles.
The bill declares that it is the policy of the State to protect the interest of the youth. On line with this, it shall endeavor to provide them with opportunities for development by creating policies that will improve their access to employment.
Subject to exceptions, the bill mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities, including Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and Local Government Units (LGUs), not to collect fees or charges from new graduates.
Such fees or charges are paid in connection with the application for and the granting of licenses, proofs of identification, clearances, certificates or other documents usually required in the course of employment.
Moreover, the application for such license, proof of identification, clearance, or other documents is submitted within one year after the applicant graduated from high school, college, or any vocational or technical course.
A copy of the new graduate’s diploma or a certification from the concerned academic, vocational or technical institution stating that the said graduate has successfully completed the course required shall be submitted before the waiver authorized under the proposed Act can be availed of.
The diploma or certification should clearly state the date of graduation or completion of the degree earned and signed by the institution’s duly authorized representative.
Such copy of the diploma or certification shall serve as prima facie evidence of the fact of graduation and sufficient for the government agency concerned to grant the waiver.
The bill also provides that any person found to be fabricating or falsifying any proof of graduation shall be liable under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code.
The fees and charges to be waived shall not include those collected in connection with an application to take a professional licensure examination conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) or for a Philippine passport.
No government agency or instrumentality shall issue unduly restrictive regulations which will render nugatory the benefit of the waiver as prescribed under the Act. Such shall constitute an administrative offense punishable under the Administrative Code and other pertinent laws.
The bill also provides for the creation of an inter-agency monitoring committee with the Executive Secretary as Chairperson and the heads of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and other departments whose participation as members may be deemed necessary by the committee.
The committee shall monitor the compliance of the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities and may recommend to the proper authorities the filing of an administrative complaint against any person who shall refuse to comply with the provisions of the Act.
In his explanatory note of HB 172, Nograles said that while applying for employment, a college graduate is required by the prospective employer to submit many documents from the government such as clearances from the police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), identification card from Social Security System (SSS), and certification or community tax certificate from the LGU, among others.
“All these require payment of fees, which, when put together, becomes costly and burdensome, especially for someone who is not yet earning. As a result, instead of helping new graduates, an oppressive situation is created,” said Nograles.
Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles (Party-list, PBA), co-author of the bill, said the measure seeks to protect the interest of the youth and facilitate their access to employment by authorizing a reasonable waiver of fees collected by the government for various clearances, licenses and other documents from fresh graduates who are seeking employment.
“The recommended waiver of fees must not be viewed as a diminution of revenues for the government but as a means to protect the interest of our youth,” he said.
The bill was sponsored on the floor by Committee on Ways and Means Chairperson Rep. Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija). Other authors of the bill are Deputy Speaker Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Reps. Estrellita Suansing, Horacio Suansing, Jr., Victoria Isabel Noel, Raul Tupas, Harlin Neil Abayon, Lorna Silverio, former Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Reps. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Gus Tambunting, Deogracias Victor Savellano, Angelina Tan, M.D., Carmelo Lazatin II, Gary Alejano, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Randolph Ting, Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Mark Go, Juliet Cortuna, and Florida Robes.