‘Jollibee’s SEEDS are not growing’
By MARC GUERRERO
THESE were the exact words of a former “istambay” (do-nothing) tantra artist from Aurora Province (South of Metro Manila), now a tourism student, and soon to become a fast rising fastfood restaurant supervisor, specially if the Big Brother-Bee decided to sustain the watering of its seeds, no end:
“Jollibee’s SEEDS are not growing!”
Twenty-three-year-old Yolanda Fernandez (she declined to be quoted with her real name for fear of repercussion for speaking up) told CPM News Asia, that Jollibee is young-generation businessmen’s big business collective GO-Negosyo’s top Filipino-Chinese food entrepreneurship that started up in Aurora Blvd, Cubao, Quezon City, as a small ice cream parlor more than 30 years ago.
CPM News Asia protects its news sources from being named by virtue of a press-freedom law authored by the late Senator Vicente Sotto, a brilliant statute that the grandfather of the noontime show Eat Bulaga comedian-senator Vicentito “Tito” Sotto had gifted all journalists (in all platforms) regardless of class, color or creed.
“SEEDS.” that Ms Fernandez was referring to as, “Skills Enhancement and Educational Development for Students,” is a program of Jollibee Foods Corporation which is helping more than 5,000 working students across the country get them by to work for themselves and for their families and at the same time pursue their college dreams.
I was a self-supporting working student when I was 16 (millenniums ago) and I found it very hard to study, to work (and raise your immediate family) and to have my own life.
It takes great courage, determination and commitment for the millennials – or what I always described as the XYZ-generations – to do the same in circa-21 (or the 21stcentury). But many still do.
Fernandez said, she has been a main beneficiary of the Jollibee program for five years.
Unconfirmed information is going around that SEEDS may be scrapped soon, for financial and other (corporately-correct) reasons.
Five thousand families or average 25,000 clinging bodies across The Philippines are concerned. They worry much about where to get the next food on the table if SEEDS die a sudden death, or even if it was a death after a prolonged agony.
She explained to CPM News Asia:
“I have been serving (my Calabarzon) Jollibee well for almost half a decade now. I was just 18 when I started with them.
“SEEDS beneficiaries are allowed to work with pay as trainees for 72 hours during a single cutoff period.
“Our measly pay helped us a lot in sending ourselves to school without getting the tuition from our own pockets because our trainee-pay pays for the survival of our own family in the provinces.
“Trainees’ tuition is deducted from our pay every 15 days.
“In my five years of dedicated service as a trainee who sometimes aspires to become a Jollibee supervisor some day, however, I and my family have no fringe benefits to look forward to, unlike in other more humane establishments.
“I have no SSS (social security). I have no Pag-IBIG (housing plan). I have no 13thmonth pay. Jollibee’s reasons for not deducting and for not giving fringe benefits are ‘noble,’ and quite logical.
“If they do deduct from our trainee-pay, we will all have a zero-balance every payday!”
FERNANDEZ also reported to CPM News Asia that upon maturity of trainee-service under SEEDS, beneficiaries are rated based on performance and other productivity measures to determine “if they shall carry on working as regular staff of Jollibee.” Otherwise, SEEDS beneficiaries will be upgraded (or downgraded, depending on who is talking, for whom) to another level: talent or skilled worker managed by a cooperative that, for all its intents and purposes, act as a subsidiary “employment agency,” also owned or managed by Jollibee holdings company, if not allegedly by a dummy entity.
SEEDS is no doubt a noble endeavor by Jollibee and supported by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) under its YE-YE (or the Youth Education-Youth Employability) program, equivalent to a good model of a CSR or corporate social responsibility of the Tan Cak Chiong trophy company.
In a nutshell, SEEDS missions are two-pronged: One, to help qualified students pursue post-secondary education through the provision of financial assistance; and two, to enable students to acquire job competencies – skills, attitudes and work values through in-store training, thus enhancing employability upon completion of post-secondary education.
SEEDS is interest-free tuition loan (maximum amount of P12,000 for semestral schools; P10,000 for trimestral schools); training stipend net of tuition loan; in-store training ranging from 24-36 hours per week during regular semester and 48 training hours per week during school breaks; values formation and leadership development programs.
Anyone from marginalized families who are 18 to 26 years old, at least high school graduate and enrolled in participating partner schools, with a general weighted average (GWA) of 80 percent or higher, possesses a strong desire to finish post-secondary education, of good moral character, demonstrates character traits that are suited to the service industry, not a recipient of any scholarship grant, and so on can participate as Jollibee’s SEEDS scholar.
“All we need from Mr Tan Cak Chiong now is more love and loving, specially this Christmas and the years to come, to plant more, to water more, to sunlit more, to fertilize more, and to nurture and grow Jollibee’s SEEDS more,” Yolanda Fernandez recommended, “and not kill the seeds that feed more than 25,000 mouths, day-in and day-out.”
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