Feature: Poor student employed by DOLE now labor officer

Once a beneficiary of the labor department’s special work program for poor but deserving students is now one of the labor officers of the Department of Labor and Employment here.

Also a certified civil engineer, Marlon de Leon, now 35, spent three summers working under the DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) from 1995 to 1998 until he finished his degree in civil engineering as cum laude in 1999.

The program provides temporary employment to poor but deserving students who wish to pursue their high school education throughout college by getting employed in government posts during summer or Christmas break.

De Leon, third of seven siblings, once worked as a conductor for his father who drives a public jeepney.

He earned additional income by selling doughnuts that his mother made. At one point, he and his eldest brother gathered scrap metals and sold them to junk buyers so that he’d have money for school.

Despite the difficulties, he never gave up going to school and made himself a consistent achiever from grade school to high school.

DOLE Regional Information Officer Arly S. Valdez said the program also molds students to become effective, efficient, competitive and independent workers at an early age.

Student-workers have also a better chance of getting re-hired by their former employers once they have completed their college degrees, Valdez added.

Such was the case of De Leon who was first employed as field interviewer for a special project under DOLE’s Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics in summer of 1995. He was employed as engineering aide at the Department of Public Works and Highways-La Union Engineering District in summer of 1996, and as inventory clerk at then Bacnotan Cement Corporation-now Holcim Philippines in summer of 1998.

In March 1999, he finished his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering as cum laude. He later passed the board exams and got his first job as sales engineer at the Colorsteel Systems Corporation. He then moved to teaching and shared his expertise at the AMA Computer College in Dagupan City.

At AMA, De Leon was hired as facilities supervisor and still worked part-time as engineering instructor.

In 2003, he applied and got hired as administrative aide at DOLE. De Leon’s first work assignment was under the SPES.

De Leon later became a member of the department’s inspectorate team, entrusted with various functions in relation to the agency’s enforcement program, occupational safety and health, key services under the employment program such as the philjobnet, career and employment coaching, Kabataan Information Technology Opportunities (K-ITO) and other special assignments.

In 2009, he was promoted to Labor and Employment Officer III and now performs labor inspection as his core function.

From the fruits of his hard work and with the help of his wife, Teresa, De Leon was able to build a decent house for his own family and managed to put up a cozy eatery which provides additional family income.

“Looking back, I realize how God has given me and my family with so much blessings, one of them is being a SPES beneficiary,” de Leon said. (MCA/MPA-PIA 1 La Union with reports/ from DOLE1)

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