If Bongbong wants to succeed in agriculture , and create jobs for our poor people, he should seriously look into the low key but outstanding achievements of the very successful “TESDA ABOT LAHAT” of incumbent Director General Isidro Lapeña and his regional directors. This mantra provides technical and vocational education to every Filipino, young and old, male or female, with or without financial means, as long as they wanted a shot at getting better opportunities.
In four years, around 10.8-M out of total 11.6 M enrollees graduated in technical vocation courses while around 7.1-M got their own TESDA national certificates with a 70 percent employability average. “Each of these graduates took a big step out of poverty and better life for their families”, Lapeña says . Also, over 1.5 M “special clients” were helped by TESDA which include former rebels, indigenous people, drug surrenderees, 4Ps beneficiaries, persons deprived of liberty , agrarian reform beneficiaries as well as families of uniformed personnel killed or wounded in action.
The TESDA Online Program (TOP) expanded and provided access to tech-voc training consisting of 115 different courses for local trainees and abroad, registering a total of 2.14M Filipinos.
In three years time, Lapeña put into operation sixty three (63) new TESDA provincial centers from scratch. He wants to establish one in every province and moved very fast.
Two months after assuming his position,17 new provincial training centers were established increasing this to 52.5 percent in two years time. A feat none of the previous TESDA leaders achieved.
In 2018, despite some pressure from politicians, Lapeña prioritized agriculture and 30 percent of new TESDA scholars were set for agri-fishery training. He built mini-organic farms in all training and field offices nationwide, and during the pandemic, harvests of fruits and vegetables were donated to nearby communities and front-liners.
There are now three TESDA Innovation centers nationwide, Balicuatro College of Arts and Trades in Northern Samar, Zamboanga Sibugay Polytechnic Institute, and in TESDA Regional Training Center-Cebu. They provide TESDA technology institutions with the platform for authentic learning application and entrepreneurial learning.
Private corporations, such as PETRON together with TESDA established a state of the art auto care while DAIKIN set up its Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Center in its headquarter complex in Taguig city
But the biggest challenges are he integrity of TESDA’s National Inspectorate Scholarship Program (NISP) and the Biometric-Enabled Scholarship Registration System (BSRS).
The NISP checks and verifies the complaints on alleged anomalies and non-compliance happening in tech-voc institutions. An Interim Internal Affairs Division was created to handle cases against erring TESDA employees, trainers, and assessors.
To stop ghost training and ghost trainees happening in TESDA before, the BSRS now uses the latest facial recognition technology in the scholars’ online registration or application and as added tool for trainors to monitor accurate attendance as well as efficiently manage their classes.
Today, Secretary Lapena is the inaugural chair of the newly formed ASEAN TVET COUNCIL (ATC) This is a regional, multi-sectoral body tasked with the coordination, research and development and monitoring of regional education programs to support the advancement of TVET in the region.
Under his leadership, TESDA’s high-quality free technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is gaining traction at this point. This momentum must be expanded and harnessed fully. But we also fear that politicians will once again regain a foothold on this crucial national agency.
Tito Sotto will be missed in politics.
I got a letter from one Francis C. Adora, 29 years old and this was about my good friend, outgoing Senate President Tito Sotto.
“Senate President Sotto was the most underrated Senator who shocked the entire Philippines. From being a member of the trio TVJ (Tito, Vic and Joey), he slowly climbed the Senate ladder, reaching the highest seat in 2018 to cap his decades-long service to the public. His political career had been soaring with flying colors since 2010, showcasing a brand of politics that has been consistent, strong, reliable and trustworthy for the past 12 consecutive years. His successful stint as Senate President and a regular senator has been a pleasant surprise to many Filipinos who look at showbiz royalties transitioning to politics as a desperate move to stay relevant.
It has always been mesmerizing to listen to his speeches and interviews. It has always been a mix of light yet serious, funny but true. His baritone has been comforting, a melodious tone that reassured the Filipino people that everything would be alright, that the pieces of the puzzle will eventually fill the empty places.
Senate President Sotto has set the standard high for aspiring senators. As we all say goodbye to the public service of this exemplary human being, I can only wish well the next generation of celebrity-turned-senator and softly remind them that they have a big shoe to fill.
Well, Francis, I second your motion and totally agree.
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