MANILA, Aug 10 (Mabuhay) — Documents required of first-time jobseekers, who can obtain them for free, must be released without delay.

Senator Grace Poe said on Tuesday these are certificates or clearances issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), police and barangay (village); Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), like birth registration; Bureau of Internal Revenue, like tax identification numbers; unified multi-purpose identification cards; state universities and colleges, including transcript or records; and other government agencies.

Poe reminded in a statement on Tuesday that Republic Act (RA) 11261 or the First-Time Jobseekers Assistance Act, which she authored, mandates concerned government agencies not to collect fees for clearances or documents that job seekers need, especially the first-timers.

“We must give our all-out support to every Filipino striving to get a job for the first time. They should not miss the opportunity to begin a career and, in turn, help their families cope with the challenging times,” Poe said.

She urged fresh graduates to avail of the benefits of the law that provides support and lessens constraints to clinching employment for the first time.

“The costs of these documents altogether hinder our graduates from pursuing their desired jobs at the outset,” Poe said.

She added that after facing the high costs of education, facing a new round of expenses to comply with documentary job requirements has prohibited many jobseekers from timely pursuing employment.

An NBI clearance costs PHP130 while a PSA-certified birth certificate costs PHP155, if they will be obtained personally.

Requesting such documents online or by courier will entail added costs.

“One crucial document may just be the only thing needed by an applicant to complete a job application. Furnishing it to him or her for free can help make a difference,” Poe said.

Under RA 11261, those availing of the benefits shall be required to present a barangay certification, which should also be given free of charge, declaring that the applicant is a first-time job seeker.

Any civil servant who unduly refuses to comply with the law shall be subject to administrative and other sanctions, while any person found guilty of fabrication or falsification will be liable under the Revised Penal Code.

Excluded in the list of free documents are driver’s license, passport authentication and “red ribbon” documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and fees for Professional Regulation Commission and civil service examinations.

Beneficiaries of the JobStart Philippines Program under Republic Act 10869 and other laws that give similar exemptions for the said documents or transactions shall not be qualified to avail of the benefits of RA 11261.

The JobStart program aims to shorten the youth’s school to work transition by enhancing the knowledge and skills acquired in formal education or technical training by jobseekers for them to become more responsive to the demands of the labor market.

With the participation of the private sector and other stakeholders, the program will help develop the life skills of the youth and provide trainees with a conducive and safe work environment or venue where they can apply relevant theories and code of ethics.

Another objective of the program is to further improve the delivery of employment facilitation services of Public Employment Service Offices. (MNS)

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