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From just “inday” to engineer inday

Cebu City, Philippines. Originally coming from one of the Visayan Islands where the term, inday, is notably used to affectionately address every girl in the family, Jennifer, had been likewise used to be called by the endearment by family and close friends. 

She said that when she shared with them what her dreams were about, they did not discourage her and instead told her, “Inday, bisansaatongka-pobre, nindotkaayongadunakaymgadamgo para saimungkaugalingon.” 

The lovely sound “inday” that she had been used to hearing, to her, also implied not only love but also respect. The kind of respect she needed making her believe all the more that she could, one day, finish her studies, get a diploma, find a job, and render assistance to the family. 

Twenty-three-year old Jennifer O. Ebero is a beneficiary of the DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) or a SPES Baby in the Department’s parlance. 

After five (5) years of being a SPES beneficiary, she finally obtained a degree in Civil Engineering on 20 March 2017. “That’s a first in the family,” she proudly said, adding that her elder sister opted not to prioritize her studies so she could work and help provide for the needs of the family. 

The third child of eleven siblings recalled how they struggled financially, saying that her father is only a fisherman and her mother a housewife who sometimes sold fish. 

The moment she decided to stay away from the family in Albuera, Leyte, and explored greater possibilities in Cebu City, she carried with herself the affection, love, and support her family richly afforded her. 

“I chose to come to Cebu City because of the bigger opportunitiesit offers. I stayed with my lola in Talisay City then,” she mused. 

She landed as a working student at the University of Cebu-Main Campus in 2012 and that’s when she knew about the SPES program of the DOLE through the institution’s Job Placement Office (JPO). 

“The SPES was a big help in my studies. As a working student, it’s only our tuition fee that’s free. We still had to buy our books. Challenge gihapon para nakuangakong para pamlite, baon, ug allowance kadaadlaw. Mao ngadakugyudkaayo’gnatabangang SPES nakukaynaamankoymadawatkadatuig,” she humbly said. 

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, provides that 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). 

Beneficiaries like Jennifer, are paid by the DOLE 40% of their total salary for a particular period of employment which could range from twenty (20) to seventy-eight (78) days or from ten (10) to fifteen (15) days during Christmas Vacation. The remaining 60% is shouldered by the taker or participating establishment. 

Eight months after graduation, Jennifer finally became a licensed civil engineer after passing the Board Exams on 20 November 2017. 

“Lipaykaayosilang mama ug papa ugakongmgaigsoonkay engineer nagyudko. Gipahimo-an gyudkoug tarpaulin saamo. That’s another first in the family,” she happily added. 

When it rains, it pours, she quoted a famous saying because just a few months after passing the board examinations, she got hired as a project site engineer in one of the notable construction firms in Cebu City. 

Currently supervising an office building construction project, she said it’s like witnessing her dreams coming true almost all at the same time. 

Apart from the guts and courage she managed to pluck up, she credited much of her success to the help she got from government through the DOLE’s implementation of the SPES. 

Daghankaayokougplano. Pa-eskwelahonnakuakongmgaigsoonunyaako sang suportahanakongpamilya financially. I also would want to explore my field and hopefully learn new things to help me improve my craft,” she said. 

From just plain inday, Jennifer is now fondly called engineer inday back home. 




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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