Published 17 July 2023, The Daily Tribune

To ease the financial burden of job aspirants and, in the process, promote employment, Republic Act 11261, or the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act, was enacted.

Under this law, all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned-and-controlled corporations or GOCCs, local government units or LGUs, and government hospitals shall not collect fees or charges from first-time jobseekers in connection with their application for licenses, proofs of identification, clearances, certificates or other documents usually required in the course of employment locally or abroad. These apply to the following government-issued documents:

a. Police clearance certificate;
b. National Bureau of Investigation clearance;
c. Barangay clearance;
d. Medical certificate from a public hospital provided that fees collected for laboratory tests and other medical procedures required for the grant of a medical certificate shall not be free of charge;
e. Birth Certificate;
f. Marriage Certificate;
g. Transcript of academic records issued by state colleges and universities;
h. Tax Identification Number or TIN;
i. Unified Multi-Purpose ID or UMID card; and
j. Other government-issued documentary requirements by employers from job applicants.

In order to secure the benefits provided by the statute, the first-time jobseeker must secure a barangay certification from his or her place of residence for a minimum of six months, stating that he or she is a first-time jobseeker, coupled with the execution of an Oath of Undertaking to be provided by the barangay office. When obtaining the pre-employment documentary requirements, the first-time jobseeker shall present the original barangay certification to the officer of the concerned government agency. After successfully obtaining employment, the first-time jobseeker shall report the same to the barangay whether in person or through other modes of communication.

The assistance provided is granted only to those who are seeking job employment for the first time. Likewise, it may only be availed once. The exemptions to charges and fees cannot be claimed for applications to take professional licensure examination conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission; to obtain a Philippine passport, authentication, and red ribbon of documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs; to take Career Service Examination with the Civil Service Commission; and, to secure driver’s license from the Land Transportation Office.

Beneficiaries of the Jobstart Program under RA 10869, as well as other laws that allow payment exemptions for the papers or transactions specified above, are also exempted from the Act.

It is the policy of the State to promote full employment and equality of gainful work and opportunities for its citizens. RA 11261 is another significant piece of legislation aimed to fulfill such policy and constitutional mandate.

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