Gov’t urged to restore TESDA’s scholarship fund for workers displaced by pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2020   •   1137

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Friday called on the national government to restore the funding of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) scholarship programs to help displaced workers become more employable despite the economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Villanueva said the agency’s capacity to provide training for displaced workers and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) was “severely hampered” when part of its budget was realigned for the government’s COVID-19 response.

The senator said about P2.3 billion of TESDA’s budget under the 2020 General Appropriations Act was realigned for COVID-19 fight under the Bayanihan Law.

“Mas mabilis at madali po sana ang pagbangon ng ating mga manggagawang nawalan ng trabaho kung may kakayahan ang TESDA na magbigay ng training para sa mga in-demand na trabaho,” Villanueva said.

“Sa panahon natin ngayon mas kailangan ang tech-voc upang i-ahon ang ating mga manggagawa sa kanilang sitwasyon,” he added.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) earlier estimated that around five million Filpino workers will be displaced by the pandemic by the end of the year.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development, stressed there is a need to restore TESDA’s scholarship fund to help OFWs who have lost their jobs, as well as online sellers trying to make a living amid the pandemic.

“Isa po ang tech-voc training sa mga mabisang sandata ng gobyerno laban sa problema sa kawalan ng trabaho,” Villanueva, who previously served as TESDA secretary, said.

He also appealed to the finance and budget departments to allocate more funding to help TESDA technology institutes (TTI) to purchase the appropriate equipment and software to be able to adequately and effectively deliver blended learning in light of the new normal.

TESDA likewise needs to build up the capacity of its trainers by training them to use learning management systems, and purchasing the necessary tools such as laptops, the senator added.

“The shift to blended learning delivery entails a lot of cost, but rather than seeing it as an expense, our government should look at it as an investment for our workers,” Villanueva said.

“After all, it is our workers who will jumpstart and sustain our economic recovery,” he added.

Australia donates more oxygen concentrators to PH for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received another batch of oxygen concentrators from the Australian government as part of its continuing support to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

In a statement, the NTF said the 100 oxygen concentrators arrived in Manila on Thursday.

The first batch of oxygen concentrators were delivered last August 28.

“Australia is increasing its commitment to the Philippines in terms of COVID-19 support, and we’re increasing our commitment by further [to] P433 million to make a grand total of P1.8 billion that Australia is donating to the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said during a press conference following the turn-over.

The NTF said the first batch of the medical equipment was distributed to 27 hospitals across the country.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the donation is vital to the country’s clinical management of the country’s severe and critical COVID cases.

“This will go a long way in improving the quality of care that we provide our patients in the several hospitals that have been benefited by these pieces of equipment,” Duque added.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. thanked Australia for its compassion and generosity to the Filipino people.

“This life-saving oxygen concentrator will go a long way and a lot of people will be saved, thousands of them because of these concentrators,” Galvez said.

Aside from its donation of medical equipment and contribution to the COVAX facility, Australia, in partnership with UNICEF, will also provide over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.

The said vaccine donations are expected to arrive in the country by the fourth quarter of this year.

TESDA warns public against national certificates sold online

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has warned the public against fake national certificates allegedly being sold online.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña issued the warning following reports about groups on Facebook offering national certificates for different technical vocational courses for a certain amount of money and of employers receiving bogus certificates.

Lapeña said only TESDA offices can issue national certificates to qualified individuals who have passed the assessment. Employers can also verify the authenticity of the certificates.

“Ang tunay na NC po ay hindi for sale. Ang isang indibidwal na nakapasa lamang sa competency assessment ang entitled para magawaran ng NC,” Lapeña said in a statement.

TESDA said it has a Registry of Certified Workers available online so one can check the pool of certified workers for certain occupations nationwide. It can be accessed via the TESDA Website.

Lapeña said the agency is coordinating with authorities to crackdown on the sale of fake TESDA national certificates.

“We also urge the public to report to us if they know someone who sells NC, via our hotline, 8887-7777,” he added.

Kahihinatnan ng ECQ sa Metro Manila, ibabatay sa sitwasyon ng COVID-19 at healthcare data — Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Malakanyang na ibabatay ng pamahalaan sa datos ng COVID-19 situation at healthcare utilization rate kung palalawigin o luluwagan ang ipinaiiral na community quarantine restrictions sa Metro Manila.

Ginawa ng Malakanyang ang pahayag kasunod ng panukala ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) na magpatupad ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) at granular lockdowns sa mga lugar na may mataas na COVID-19 cases kapag natapos na ang ECQ sa Metro Manila.

Layunin nitong muling mabuksan ang ekonomiya ng bansa at makabalik sa trabaho ang maraming Pilipino sa gitna ng pandemya.

“We all want a lesser quarantine classification para mas maraming tao po ang makapag-trabaho pero ang desisyon po natin is total health,” ani Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Titingnan natin ang mga datos, sa takdang panahon, pero matagal pa po, a-bente pa po ang katapusan ng ECQ dito sa Metro Manila,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang Metro Manila ay nasa ilalim ng ECQ mula Agosto 6 hanggang 20.

Samantala, inihayag naman ni Roque na may rekomendasyon na ang Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) para sa ipatutupad na quarantine restrictions sa Laguna, Iloilo City, at Cagayan de Oro City.

Ang mga nasabing lugar ay nasa ilalim din ng ECQ hanggang Agosto 15.

Ang rekomendasyon ay naisumite na ng IATF para sa pag-apruba ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, ani Roque. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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