Fifteen years after the Congress of the Philippines enacted R.A. 8759, otherwise known as the PESO Act of 1999, President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday signed into law the legislative measures amending the act, which helps Filipino jobseekers, especially those in the rural areas, find better employment opportunities in the country.
The signing took place at the 15th National PESO Congress, the crystal year of public employment services in the country.
“I am very happy for this occasion,” Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said. “The amendments to the PESO Law took a long time and now here they are with no less than President Aquino III presenting it as a gift to the Filipino people,” she added.
The amended Philippine Employment Service Office (PESO) Law defines the role of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), local government units (LGUs), and accredited non-government organizations (NGOs) in the establishment and operation of job placement offices all over the country. It further expands and strengthens the PESO, which serves as a venue for Filipino jobseekers to explore employment opportunities and other labor market information.
“The amended PESO law will transform the PESO into a modern public employment service intermediary that provides multi-dimensional employment facilitation services all over the country,” Baldoz explained.
“It will ensure the continued operation and sustainability of PESOs under the supervision of local government units (LGUs) and the technical support of the Department of Labor and Employment,” she added. Under the approved amendments, PESOs will now be operated and maintained by LGUs.
The amended PESO law also provides that PESOs will be community-based and maintained largely by local government units (LGUs), accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or community-based organizations, (CBOs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs). It requires that establishments and enterprises operating in a locality must submit to the concerned LGU relevant labor market information, such as present number and nature of jobs, and projection of jobs that establishments will offer in the next five years.
It also requires a system of monitoring and reporting of available and projected jobs needed by a business establishment to the Business License and Permit Office of an LGU or its equivalent. The information from establishments and companies will be submitted to the PESO for job matching and to educational institutions for career guidance of the students.
“Establishments and companies are now required to submit their job vacancies, as well as applicants hired, to the PESO to ensure the availability of accurate information on supply and demand for skills in the labor market,” said Baldoz.
The PESOs were established through R.A. 8579, signed into law by then President Joseph Estrada on 14 February 2000, to “ensure the prompt, timely and efficient delivery of employment services and provision of information on other DOLE programs.” The DOLE then was headed by Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma.
R.A. No. 8759 mandated the establishment of PESOs in all capital towns of provinces, key cities, and other strategic areas, but because the original law lacked funding provisions, LGUs where slow to establish their PESOs.
In later years, attempts to amend the PESO Act of 1999 were made, but these attempts failed to get the approval of Congress.
In 2010, when the Aquino III administration assumed office there were only 1,756 established PESOs, with only 64 of them fully institutionalized. Currently, there are 1,925 PESOs nationwide. Of these, 390 were institutionalized between 2010 to 2015.
 The 15th National PESO Congress, an annual event of the PESO Managers Association of the Philippines (PESOMAP), is aimed at developing an environment conducive to strengthening the PESOs’ capacity to provide valuable contributions toward productive employment facilitation; create learning opportunities for drawing new insights for better employment services at the grassroots, occasioned by the changing environment; and promote stronger camaraderie and cooperation among the PESOs.