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House approves bill exempting new graduates from payment of gov’t fees/charges

MANILA -- The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to exempt fresh graduates from government charges and fees.

Authors of House Bill 6416 said the waiver on government fees and charges would enhance the youth’s access to employment.

The bill mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs) to refrain from collecting fees or charges from new graduates in relation to documentary requirements for employment.

These include fees and charges paid in connection with the application for and granting of licenses, proofs of identification, clearances, certificates, or other documents usually required in the course of employment.

The bill states that the application for such license, proof of identification, clearance, certificate, or other documents is submitted within one year after graduating from high school, college or any vocational or technical course.

To avail of the waiver on government fees and charges, the new graduate should submit a copy of his/her diploma or a certification from the concerned academic, vocational or technical institution that the said graduate has successfully completed the course required.

The diploma or certification should clearly state the date of graduation or completion of the degree earned, and should be signed by the institution’s duly authorized representative.

The copy of diploma or certification submitted shall serve as prima facie evidence of the fact of graduation and shall be sufficient for the government agency concerned to grant the waiver.

But any person found guilty of fabricating or falsifying any proof of graduation as described under this Act shall be liable under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code.

The bill provides that 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 an application for a Philippine passport.

The bill calls for the creation of an inter-agency monitoring committee chaired by the Executive Secretary and composed of the heads of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Finance (DOF), the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to monitor compliance with the provisions of this Act.

The bill was authored by Representatives Eulogio “Amang” Magsaysay (Party-list, AVE), Harlin Abayon (1st District, Northern Samar), Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan) Mark Villar (Lone District, Las Piñas City), Christopher Co (Party-list, Ako Bicol), Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, Ako Bicol) and Neri Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna).

Other authors include Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Party-list, Bayan Muna), Terry Ridon (Party-list, Kabataan), Ferdinand Hernandez (2nd District, South Cotabato), Rodrigo Abellanosa (2nd District, Cebu City), Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City), Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), Angelina D.L. Tan (4th District, Quezon), and Roy Señeres Sr. (Party-list, OFW Family Club). (PNA)

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