Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go emphasized that, in addition to many other government interventions designed to improve the quality of life of Filipinos after the COVID-19 crisis, reinforcing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs responsive to the needs of the local economy is also essential in accelerating development in the countryside by giving Filipinos more economic opportunities to bounce back from the current crisis.
“Palakasin pa dapat ang mga technical-vocational education and skills training programs natin lalo na sa panahon ngayon. Having an educated and skilled workforce will accelerate development in the countryside and will provide more economic opportunities to Filipinos to help them recover from this crisis,” Go stressed.
Senator Go urged the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to reinforce their programs in the provinces and make them attuned and updated to the changing business requirements in the countryside.
“Pagbalik ng mga tao sa probinsya pagkatapos ng krisis, siguraduhin dapat ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno na may mga programang nakahanda para sa kabuhayan nila. Lalo na ang mga ‘tech-voc’ o skills training para sa mga Pilipinong gustong matuto o makakuha ng sertipikasyon sa kanilang mga kakayahan para makakuha agad sila ng maayos na trabaho,” the Senator said.
The Senator also urged TESDA to coordinate its efforts and collaborate with various government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Economic and Development Authority as well as the local government units, to match skills with the jobs that will be made available in the provinces. “This is to ensure that the technical and vocational education as well as the skills trainings offered in a particular province match with what is needed in that locality.”
“Naaayon rin ang klase ng kabuhayan sa katangian ng isang probinsya. Halimbawa, doon sa Mindanao, merong mga probinsya na malakas ang agri-industrial sector. Meron namang probinsya na mas akma sa kanila ang fisheries. Kaya mahalaga na ang binibigay na training ay tugma din sa kung ano ang negosyong maaaring lumago sa lugar na iyon,” Go said.
“Inaasahan din nating magkakaroon ng mga bagong special economic zones sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa kung kaya’t dapat lang na ihanda na ang mga tao sa lugar na iyon para maging kwalipikado sila sa mga trabahong magiging available,” Go added.
As the country’s main agency tasked to manage and supervise the technical education and skills development of Filipinos, one of the mandates of TESDA is to integrate, coordinate and monitor skills development programs in different parts of the country.
In one of the meetings held for the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña shared that they are aligning their programs and enhancing courses in agriculture, health and construction. Many economists believe that these are the sectors that are expected to bounce back much faster than other industries right after overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak.
In another statement through a radio interview, TESDA-NCR regional director Florencio Sunico said that they will do a thorough profiling of workers and industries to help the government in properly assisting Filipinos going back to the provinces as the BP2 Program is set to be implemented.
As the proponent of this initiative, Go sees the BP2 Program as a way to decongest Manila, strengthen the capability of government to respond better to crises, and boost the economy of the provinces.
The Senator urged the Executive branch, particularly concerned agencies and LGUs, to execute their plans immediately in support of the objectives of the program as more Filipinos have expressed willingness to go home to their provinces after what they experienced during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Hindi po ito sapilitan. Unahin dapat ang mga kababayan nating nais na bumalik sa kanilang mga probinsya at tulungan dapat sila ng gobyerno na makakuha ng trabaho o magkaroon ng mas maayos na kabuhayan,” Go said adding that the program aims to give Filipinos hope for a better future after the COVID-19 crisis.
Last May 6, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 114 institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program and creating an inter-agency council to implement and oversee it. National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada, Jr. stands as the Executive Director for the implementation of the program.
Among others, EO 114 identified various existing government programs as part of the short-term phase, such as transportation and relocation, transitory support, livelihood and employment packages, agri-based support services, and fiscal incentives and transition assistance for small businesses.