Villanueva calls on TESDA to adapt to changing labor market needs

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2019   •   1985

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday called on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to adapt to the needs of the labor market.

During a Senate privilege speech, Villanueva challenged TESDA to listen to the changing needs of the labor market in order for the public to appreciate the value of technical vocational sector and help students navigate their careers.

He also called on TESDA officials to embrace the challenge that lay ahead of the agency, particularly equipping trainees with skills which are in-demand in the job market.

“I challenge our Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) workers, especially our TESDA employees and officials who are present here today: Continue to pour your hearts out to the cause of TVET,” said Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.

“I always believe that it all starts from aspiring higher and striving harder. We should take part in the struggle; all of us. Let us applaud the success of our Tech-Voc graduates because they bring us hope.”

In line with his call, the senator outlined an action plan that “tweaks the education and training systems to respond to the demands of the changing labor market which is gearing up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Villanueva, a former TESDA Secretary, likewise underscored the importance of linking training with the needs of industries, especially on qualifications “pertaining to the use of innovative or additive technologies.”

He also asked technical-vocational and education stakeholders to study and integrate enterprise-based training to provide students a more realistic understanding of the career path they intend to pursue once they finish their studies.

Villanueva said he is eyeing to file a bill that incorporates the TESDA-administered Enterprise-Based Training programs, and expand the provision of training programs being implemented within companies.

“We must focus training on science and innovation so that our graduates can keep up with workplace changes,” the senator explained. “We can do this by creating more or helping our best TESDA Technology Institutions morph into centers of excellence and by recruiting trainors who understand industry, business, and the workplace.”

The senator also stressed the importance of web-based training in expanding access of people to TVET, saying it pins down the value of independent learning among Filipinos, which plants the seeds of lifelong learning.

“It will develop the skills required in our fast-becoming ‘uber-economy’ as manifested by the call center jobs and telecommuting or work-from-home setups,” Villanueva said.

Senate rules panel OKs hearings on bills seeking creation of new gov’t departments

Robie de Guzman   •   February 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Rules has given its go-signal to the chamber’s committees to proceed with deliberations on bills proposing the creation of new government departments.

In a statement issued on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who chairs the Committee on Rules, said the bills can be simultaneously taken up by respective panels.

Once committee reports have been submitted, an all-member caucus will then be called to discuss the prioritization of bills for plenary deliberations, he added.

These bills include the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos, the Department of Disaster Resilience and Management, the Department of Culture, and the Department of Water Management.

“The Senate works through a committee system…by practice and tradition, we have long given committees their sole prerogative and discretions regarding matters referred to them. Each committee has its sovereign right to bring out its committee report on a particular measure,” Zubiri said.

“The Senate is a collegial body with a collective decision. On the priorities of the Senate, we will take this up with an all-member caucus to discuss priorities that will be taken up on the floor,” he added.

In a separate statement, Senator Joel Villanueva welcomed the decision of the rules committee to allow several standing panels to proceed with hearing bills on establishing new government departments alongside the proposed rightsizing measure, which seeks to trim the “excess fat” in the bureaucracy.

Villanueva chairs the Senate labor committee where bills pushing for the creation of an overseas Filipino department are pending.

“This is a welcome development. We will resume the committee hearings into the overseas Filipino department bills,” he said.

The challenge ahead is to ensure that the proposed Department of Filipinos Overseas would mean better lives for OFWs and their families and decent job opportunities, here or overseas, the senator said.

“The pandemic has exposed the weakness of our policies on [overseas Filipino workers], particularly our reintegration program to help them transition back to the local labor force,” he said.

“We support the principles of rightsizing, especially because we have been raising the issue of unfilled positions and contractuals in government for the longest time. We will do our best to tackle all issues and hear all sides being raised in this particular measure in the Committee on Labor,” he added. “Who knows that this could be a model for rightsizing done right.”

TESDA resumes distribution of toolkits for scholars in NCR, other regions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will resume the distribution of starter toolkits for 2019 scholars in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other regions of the country.

TESDA delivered six lots of tool kits for the 2019 beneficiaries of the agency’s Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).  This is part of the total 18 lots intended for the region in 2019 and is expected to be delivered from January 4 to February 6.

The lots include 5,155 toolkit packages for graduates of courses such as Perform Body Massage, Perform Body Scrub, Perform Facial Make-up, Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II, Pastry Making, and Cake Making.

 TESDA chief Secretary Isidro Lapena assured that the packages will be delivered to the beneficiaries.

“We will work closely with PITC so that the remaining packages of STEP toolkits will meet the targeted delivery dates. We are aware that there are so many TESDA graduates waiting for their starter toolkits to arrive, and we are doing our best to make sure all pending toolkits will be processed accordingly,” he said.

PH gov’t urged to draw up ‘clear-cut’ list of COVID-19 vaccine beneficiaries

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday called on the government’s task force on COVID-19 response to start drawing up a ‘clear-cut’ master list of beneficiaries while negotiations are ongoing between the government and pharmaceutical companies that will supply COVID-19 vaccine for the country’s immunization program.

In a statement, Villanueva said this is to ensure that overlaps in the selection will be avoided given the limited resources.

He stressed that the precise targeting of beneficiaries is important because a person can fall under multiple categories based on the initial priority list of the government.

“The IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) should start drawing up guidelines as early as now so that we can maximize the distribution of the vaccines given the limited supply,” he said.

“We should already be anticipating the kinds of issues we would encounter once the roll-out begins,” he added.

The IATF’s initial priority list is composed of frontline health workers, senior citizens, indigent Filipinos, and uniformed personnel.

It was later expanded to include essential workers, seafarers, and overseas Filipino workers.

“We do not want overlaps in the priority list. Given the limited supply, we must ensure that each dose goes to the rightful beneficiary,” Villanueva said.

The senator said the IATF would need to precisely identify the 10.4 million additional beneficiaries considering that about 25% or about 10 million of the country’s 39.8 million employed workers as of the October 2020 Labor Force Survey are in “elementary occupations.”

He also cited the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority which states that among those involved in elementary occupations are unskilled labor such as “street vendors, cleaners, domestic helpers and farm hands.”

PSA data also shows that about seven million workers are in sales or service occupations.

“While unemployment eased in October to 8.7% or about 3.8 million jobless workers, we must understand that the people also stopped looking for work. The slump is getting into the heads of our workers, and the vaccination program will help boost both the confidence of workers and our businesses as well,” he said.

“We cannot afford to drop the ball on this. The stakes are too high. Our country’s economic recovery depends largely on this,” he added.

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