For Rudy Tagapuen, the things he learned from being a beneficiary of DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students, or SPES, has led to him to where he is now.
The 24 year old native of Solsona, Ilocos Norte, is now an Assistant Restaurant Manager of a Chinese fast food chain in Bacarra, Laoag City, serving an average of 633 customers daily.
“I owe my success to the things that I have learned since I became a student worker under the DOLE’s SPES. It made me understand the importance of persistence and industry in achieving one’s dream,” Rudy said.
Being an Assistant Restaurant Manager, Rudy is involved in monitoring the correct execution of processes; effective management of store functions; reviewing of sales target; and sales building implementation.
He is also in charge of conceptualizing and implementing marketing strategies, and maintaining good public and community relations in order to attract customers and widen the store’s customer base.
“In doing all these, you need to have humility, honesty, patience and hardwork—these are core values that I have developed since becoming a student-worker under the SPES,” Rudy said.
“I believe that if a person possesses the said values, he will live a meaningful life,” he added.
Rudy became a beneficiary of SPES for three consecutive summers from 2009 to 2011, where he was assigned at the Community Affairs Office of Laoag City and had the chance to teach elementary pupils in the Sama-Summer, a program of the LGU which offered free workshops on Mathematics for students in Ilocos Norte,” said Rudy.
His earnings under the program were used to defray for his tuition fees and allowances.
“SPES was a great help in defraying for my expenses in school because my parents’ income was really insufficient to provide for all our family needs,” Rudy said.
After termination of every SPES period, Rudy had also worked as part-time make-up artist from 2009 to 2012 and as service crew for a fast food chain from 2011 to 2012.
With his persistence and industry, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education major in Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (MAPEH) at Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte in 2012.
In the same year, he passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers. To expand his opportunities for future employment, he also took and passed the Civil Service Examination and Philippine National Police examination for non-uniformed personnel.
After graduation, Rudy had worked as college instructor at the Northwestern
University and AMA Computer College, both in Laoag City, from June 2012 to June 2014 and June 2013 to 2014, respectively.
However, when his father died in 2014, he felt the need for a new work environment and was eventually hired to his present position.
“My previous work experiences, and that includes my work under the SPES, came in handy during my job application. Employers, indeed, give weight to work experience,” Rudy said.
Rudy is currently enrolled in a company-based modular course for Certificate in Quick Service Restaurant Management at the Ateneo de Manila University.
The course is designed especially for managers who have the potential for career advancement like Rudy, who aspires to become an Area Manager in five years’ time.
SPES is an employment-bridging program that provides income to poor but deserving students and out of school youth who intend to finish their education.
Republic Act 7323, otherwise known as the Special Program for the Employment of Students was enacted in 1992, to help poor but deserving students pursue their education by encouraging their employment during summer and/or Christmas vacations, through incentives granted to employers. In 2009, RA 7323 was amended by virtue of RA 9547, to expand employers’ participation and period of implementation; and fixed 20 percent annual increase of budget. In 2010, RA 9547’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was issued.
In July 21, 2016, RA 9547 was amended by RA 10917 further expanding the coverage of SPES and providing therein that the government share shall be paid in cash directly to the student or through financial institutions or other payment facilities subject to existing rules on procurement.
The DOLE partners with private establishments, LGUs and NGAs through the SPES program to employ the qualified SPES applicants/beneficiaries.
Under the new law, the SPES beneficiaries shall render a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 78 days’ work to the partner or participating employer. Employers shall pay 60 percent of their salary in cash not lower than the applicable minimum wage or hiring rate in the area, while the DOLE pays the 40 percent share in the form of cash directly to the student or through any financial institution or other payment facilities.
END/Tim Laderas with report from Arly Sta. Ana Valdez