Gov’t urged to restore TESDA’s scholarship fund for COVID-19 displaced workers
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva is urging the government to restore funding for the scholarship programs being offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) to aid workers displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis and help them become more employable.
According to Villanueva, TESDA’s capacity to provide training for displaced workers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) was “severely hampered” when around P2.3 billion of the agency’s 2020 budget was realigned for the government’s COVID-19 response.
“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, chair of the Senate labor committee, said in a statement on Friday.
(It would be a faster and easier way for displaced workers to get back on their feet if TESDA would have the capacity to be trained in in-demand jobs).
The Department of Labor and Employment projects that up to 5 million workers will be displaced due to the coronavirus pandemic by the end of the year.
“Sa panahon natin ngayon mas kailangan ang tech-voc upang i-ahon ang ating mga manggagawa sa kanilang sitwasyon,” he added.
(In this time of pandemic, we need tech-voc [technical-vocational training] to help displaced workers from their current situation).
The senator underscored the need for TESDA’s funds to be restored, saying it would enable the agency to help OFWs who have lost their jobs as well as online sellers who are trying to make a living amid restrictions imposed by 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.
(Tech-voc training is an effective weapon of the government against the problem of job loss).
The lawmaker further appealed to the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management to allocate more funding to help TESDA technology institutes (TTI) to purchase appropriate ICT equipment and software that would provide for adequate and effective delivery of blended learning as the country shifts to a “new normal.”
Aside from the procurement of equipment and software, Villanueva said TESDA would likewise need 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 shift to blended learning delivery entails a lot of costs, but rather than seeing it as an expense, our government should look at it as an investment for our workers,” he said.
“After all, it is our workers who will jumpstart and sustain our economic recovery. The welfare of our workers should be in the top three priorities of our government,” he added.
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