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Born with no hands, student continues schooling because of SPES

Cebu City, Philippines. He is now counting the days before he could finally graduate this year. Born with no hands, he said, he could not also count on the fingers anyway the many blessings that came his way. Continuing his studies and eventually getting a degree before 2018 ends are definitely on top of the list. 

Joie T. Fernandez of SitioBacay, Tulay, Minglanilla, Cebu, felt that he is at his prime ever ready to take on what the world has in stored for him. His disability and the face of poverty he had been living with for the past 26 years, according to him, are but the very same things that propelled him to chase after his dreams. 

He is the seventh of eleven children. His parents, now both senior citizens, also tried their best to provide at least for food. And sending him or his siblings to school until College, he added, is the least of the family’s priorities. 

“Angako papa kay mag-uumaunyaangakong mama kaytighugasugbotelya. Angilangkitakuwanggyudkaayo para sainadlaw-adlawngpanginahanglanonsapanimalay. Mao nangaakobisagdunakoykakuli-ansalawas, walakoymgakamot, naningkamotkongamaka-kitaugkwartaaronmakapadayonugeskwela,” he said. 

He stopped going to school for ten long years. Luckily, he was able to avail the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education. 

“Nakadungoglangkosa ALS unyaakosiyanggisuwayanunyaakonanggipadayon,” he recalled. 

Becoming more persistent of finishing what he started, in 2015, he landed as a working student at the University of the Visayas-Minglanilla Campus. It was the same year when he also learned about and started availing until present the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) of the Department of Labor and Employment being implemented by the school’s Job Placement Office (JPO). 

“Sukadkonahimong beneficiary sa SPES, akonaangnagsuportasaakongkaugalingonugkwartalabinasaakongpag-eskwela. Tanannakungpanginahanglanonsapagtuonkayangsweldonakusa SPES angakonggamiton,” humbly revealed Joie. 

Under Department Order No. 175, Series of 2017, otherwise known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10917 Amending for the Purpose Republic Acts 9547 and 7323, or the Special Program for the Employment of Students, the applicable hiring rate of a SPES beneficiary would be the prevailing wage rate for workers of participating private employers in their area of operation as determined by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB). 

Joie personally came to the Office of the Department of Labor and Employment and claimed the amount of more than Four Thousand Pesos, which accounted 40% of his total salary for working within a period of thirty days. 

“Thankful kaayokongausakosanakapahimulossa SPES. This is a very big opportunity for me. Despite my inadequacies, I kept on being positive unyanindotkaayokayni-suportapudanggobiyernopinaagisa DOLE samgaparehasnaku,” he said. 

He is now on his 4th year taking up Bachelor of Elementary Education. Having gone that far in his studies, he said, is a huge blessing not only for him but also for his family. He is expected to graduate and get his diploma on October 2018. 

He planned on taking the review right after graduation. “Hopefully makapasar. I want to impart to my future students my life story wishing that I would also be able to inspire them to pursue whatever they’ve dreamt of in life. Gusto kongamakasabotsilangapobregyudkaayoangtawongawalaypangandoysakinabuhi,” Joie finally said.



For more information on this report, you may contact LuchelSenarlo-Taniza, Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at

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