A growing concern for the majority of recent graduates is the lack of formal knowledge of their basic employee rights and privileges, which increases the risks of being manipulated into exploitative work arrangements. Such new entrants are inevitably prone to be coerced by devious employers into accepting undesirable employment contracts that are below minimum labor standards.

Now more than ever, employment program facilitators and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have the fundamental role of implementing extensive labor education programs to improve the youths’ employment cognizance for increased prevention and protection from possible engagement with employers and firms that violate labor laws.

To bring more awareness to future jobseekers, some 1,908 upcoming graduates of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa (PLMun) have participated in the Labor Education for Graduating Students (LEGS) seminar initiated by the PLMun Center for Internship Placement and Alumni, and the City Government of Muntinlupa’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) on May 24, 2022, at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex, Brgy. Tunasan, Muntinlupa.

The seminar was organized as part of the week-long celebration of the 31st Founding Anniversary of PLMun, which had initially started as a three-course polytechnic university back in 1991.

PESO Muntinlupa tapped the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Social Security System (SSS), and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG to discuss their respective programs and services while assisting participants on their job-related inquiries such as the processing of work documents for future employment.

PESO Manager Glenda Zamora-Aniñon said that these joint involvements of various stakeholders under responsible and attentive leadership can positively impact the growth of their locality.

“The convergence of these organizations in the information exchange regarding labor laws, social protection, and the like are vital to achieving the City’s vision of becoming one of the leading investment hubs in the city with educated people, living peacefully and securely under the rule of transparent, caring and accountable governance,” Aniñon said.

During the event, the PESO Muntinlupa head had also reminded the PLMun participants of the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) Fair on June 2, 2022, which would also be a part of the anniversary celebration program to help them transition from graduates to full-fledged workers.

Honorable Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi, Congressman Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon, and MTPLFO Director Leonides P. Castillon, Jr., graced the event to congratulate both the university’s continuing service in preparing students to be workforce-ready and the students’ upcoming graduation. The MTPLFO head also encouraged the students to listen attentively to the resource speakers to gain essential employment insight and knowledge to avoid any abusive employment practices.

MTPLFO Senior LEO Ana Shiela F. Galang educated the students on General Labor Standards (GLS) under Rule VII-A, Book III of the Labor Code, which include topics such as the types of employment; duties, rights, and responsibilities of employees; and workers’ benefits and privileges.

Other key officials present in the activity include Dr. Fermae Tamayao, JPO Focal Person; Dr. Danilo V. Solayao, Vice President for Student Life and Development; Dr. Carleen S. Sedilla, School’s Division Superintendent, DepEd Muntinlupa; and Dean Melonie Mater.

As evident in recent years, focused interventions to mitigate vulnerabilities of new entrants to illegal employment schemes in the labor market should be done through widespread and accessible labor education strategies for the future workers. The PESO, DOLE, and other stakeholders shall continue with their wide-ranging initiatives nationwide in offering labor education training for college graduates or “would-be workers” to ensure better working conditions in the future.

END / Ericka Escalada and Christinne Jeremiah Torrecampo