Over 200,000 scholars to be affected if cut in TESDA’s budget request proceeds

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2020   •   262

MANILA, Philippines — Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) original budget request to support its scholars was more than P11-billion.

But the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved only P5 billion — a cut of more than 50 percent from the initial proposed budget of the agency. 

Makati Representative Luis Campos Jr. who sponsors TESDA’s proposed budget, said that the cut is seen to affect more than 200,000 individuals who stand to benefit from the training programs of the agency.

“Approximately ang maapektuhan ay nasa over 200,000 individuals na hindi makakatanggap ng tamang scholarship for training programs,” Campos said.

[Approximately, around 200,000 scholars will be affected as they will no longer get scholarship for training programs.]

During last week’s Senate hearing, TESDA director General Isidro Lapeña appealed for additional budget to fully implement the agency’s programs and projects for next year.

To be exact, TESDA requested P11.114 billion to finance its scholarship programs for next year. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

TESDA eases portfolio requirements for overseas Filipino workers

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who are about to be deployed will now go through an easier process of portfolio assessment, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said.

TESDA Circular 111, series of 2020 which was signed by the agency’s Secretary Isidro Lapeña, states that from five years’ work experience, OFWs may now qualify for eligibility requirements even with at least two years of work experience.

OFWs who do not have a certificate of employment can submit OFW Information Sheet issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or Certification from the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices.

According to Lapeña, the move, which is part of its program TESDA Abot Lahat ang OFWs, seeks to address concern for some migrant workers who find it hard to request for their certificate of employment because of “inconsiderate employers.”

“We want the OFWs to feel that we are one with them. Their eagerness to work so they can provide for their families, in the fastest way possible, is also TESDA’s goal for them,” he added.

The circular also stated that videos and pictures showing actual practice of the qualification, which are not often allowed in the residences of the employers, may be substituted by videos demonstrating the tasks in the residence or other location with the same environment as required by the units of competency.

“This shall be supplemented by interview by the Panel of Portfolio Assessors to ascertain the competence of the candidates,” the circular read.

“All other requirements shall be submitted as indicated in the Operating Procedure for Portfolio Assessment,” it added.

Applications should be submitted to the TESDA Certification Office through its email address portfolio.assessment@tesda.gov.ph

The policy will be effective from Sept. 29 to Dec. 31, 2020.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2020

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.

DA, TESDA eye more training sessions for farming, urban agri-production

Robie de Guzman   •   April 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday announced it has signed an agreement with the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) to offer more training sessions in farming and urban agriculture to address the pressing demand to boost food production.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the partnership with TESDA is part of a broader food security effort as parts of the country prepare to shift to a less restrictive form of community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Several areas in the country that have moderate or low virus risk will be placed under general community quarantine beginning May 1, as recently announced by the government.

Dar said these training periods seek to further enhance the skills and know-how of farmers under the “new normal” era in agricultural production, and food value chain.

“Our farmers need a complete package of support and technical assistance to enable them to produce more. In this regard, we welcome the TESDA as a partner as together we confront the ‘new normal’ environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement issued on Monday.

Dar said he and TESDA Director-General Isidro Lapeña recently reached the agreement to craft a training design that will specifically address the emerging needs of farmers in terms of skills development to cope with the current national state of emergency and Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

“While we are combating the COVID-19 pandemic, we should at the same time empower farmers to improve their productivity, and thus contribute to increasing the country’s food adequacy level. And we must assist them to succeed in this quest,” he said.

For his part, Lapeña said that agriculture has been their top priority and that training institutions have been directed to prioritize the agri-sector in allocating budget for their skills training.

“In this time of pandemic, we are now seeing the importance of food security. We can utilize both big and small spaces to plant vegetables,” he said.

The DA chief said the plan on capacity enhancement for agricultural production will initially focus on urban agriculture, rice production, livestock and poultry raising, among other modules — anchored on the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra COVID-19.

“We will strongly coordinate with TESDA to hasten the conduct of these trainings in a manner that follows current quarantine protocols,” he added.

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