Tesda program aims to turn trash collectors into professionals
MANILA, Philippines — The lowly “basurero” (trash collector) will now be equipped with the professional skills needed in their “workplace” as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) opens its first training center for garbage collection in Teresa town, Rizal province.
The Tesda provincial office in Rizal inaugurated the pioneer training center on Aug. 30 in partnership with the local government of Teresa, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday. This will be part of Tesda’s thrust to improve the skills of garbage collectors and at the same time, as a response to the impact of climate change
According to Tesda Director General Suharto Mangudadatu, the agency intends to “professionalize” garbage collection by turning it into a full-fledged occupation.
“Garbage collectors have to deal with our daily trash. In this thankless yet very important job, they make sure waste gets removed from our homes and is moved to the landfills,” he said.
Magudadatu said that with proper training, garbage collectors would know how to safely handle and dispose of waste, ultimately easing the impact of garbage on the environment.
Targeted to start in the fourth quarter of the year, the training will require 104 hours and will focus on sorting and removing unnecessary items, arranging these, and implementing mitigation measures to eliminate environmental risks and hazards in the workplace.
It will also cover learning the proper maintenance of work areas, tools, and equipment; and the use of gloves, masks, boots or safety shoes, raincoats, safety goggles, and reflectorized vests.
A trainee who completes the program is considered competent to be a “palero” or garbage collector.
Graduates who will pass the National Competency Assessment and receive certification will be called a “sanitary landfill facility site foreman.”
In a Viber message to the Inquirer, Tesda Rizal director Maria Roque said the Teresa Learning Resource Center and Materials Recovery Facility was able to comply with the required tools, equipment, and materials for the garbage collection training course.
“Aside from that, there are additional equipment like paper and charcoal maker, coconut weaving equipment, bio-reactor and coconut weaving,” she said.
The first batch of trainees, composed of garbage collectors from Teresa, will be funded by the municipal government.
Tesda said the Teresa training center, like other accredited training institutions by the agency, will collect around P2,000 from interested learners for training costs; a miscellaneous fee of P400 for a dust mask, a pair of socks, and gloves; and P850 as an assessment fee.
Tesda said its “training regulation” for garbage collection, or a document that outlines the competencies needed for the development of a curriculum, instructional materials, and assessment tools, was circulated in 2015.
It was also that year when Sen. Joel Villanueva, then Tesda chief, said the training program would provide graduates with a chance to improve their lives with the new credential that could serve as a “basis for salary increase” and promotion.
While Tesda did not provide the salary rate for trash collectors, a source in a city government in Metro Manila said those employed by the local government receive the daily minimum wage, around P570.
Mangudadatu said Tesda had also included environmental literacy courses in its online program, including topics such as “Exercising sustainable development in the workplace,” “Orienting oneself to environmentally sustainable work standards,” and “Performing solid waste management in the workplace.”