TESDA bolsters training to conflict-prone communities

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said that it has strengthened its reach and skills training provision for rebel returnees. The beneficiaries of this program are rebel returnees in identified barangays prone to insurgency to help them have a better quality of life. This is anchored on Executive Order No. 70 to craft a concrete program that covers shelter, employment, and livelihood that will eventually lead to sustained peace and order in the country.

In a statement, the agency said that it is on full swing to help the former rebels gain national certificates for competencies and skills training they need to start a life outside the armed communities.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña reported that the agency will train about 100,00 total target beneficiaries this year.” Aside from rebel returnees, drug surrenderees and indigenous peoples are among TESDA’s “special clients.”

TESDA will use community-based training for both IPs and former rebel under its Rural Employment Generation for Social Equity (REGSE).

“REGSE shall cover activities on capability enhancement, entrepreneurship development, among others,” Lapeña said.

He added that the agency also has a mobile training program where it deploys trainers and TVET (technical and vocational education and training) providers to conduct training on-site, which aims to reach unserved and underserved areas.

According to Lapeña, the 4,800 beneficiaries who began their training last April will come from Kalabugao and Talakag, Bukidnon and Camp Darul Arqam in Lanao del Sur, as well other identified IP sites and MILF/MNLF camps, according to Lapeña. He instructed provincial and regional directors to take further steps in helping rebel returnees find employment or livelihood.

In support, TESDA-12 Regional Director Rafael Abrogar II said they are currently exploring the rollout of various skills training for at least 70 former rebels in partnership with the People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment Inc. (PEACE).

“We are committed to assisting the needs of our returnees as they also strive to become productive citizens,” Abrogar said.

Last March, at least 100 NPA rebel surrenderees in the province were profiled for the provision of skills training. They are recipients of DILG’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), a related initiative that aims to promote “life-changing economic opportunities.”

On the other hand, Zamboanga del Sur TESDA Provincial Director Adrian Ampong said that they are set to create programs that will specifically support value chain.

“Value chain means whatever prevalent livelihood that the community is into, we will come in with training. Other concerned government agencies with programs will complement the training that we will bring-in in the community,” he said.

“Halimbawa, magpa-training ta ug agriculture, sa rice farming, so naa ta’y tabang gikan sa Department of Agriculture (DA) para sa ilang pag supply sa semilya sa rice; sa training part pud nato, mopadagan ta’g training sa masonry para sa paghimo sa dike; mopadagan ta’g training sa plumbing para maghimo sa irrigation; so kana tanan nag evolve na sa usa ka product na rice production, so ang barangay mahibalo nga naa ta’y gobyerno na mutabang nila.” (For example, if we bring to the community training on agriculture, specifically for rice farming, DA will come in to compliment the services by providing rice seeds. For our part, we will conduct training on masonry for the installation of dike and plumbing for the construction of irrigation. These all evolve in one product, which is rice production, so the community will realize that there is a government that is willing to help them.) Ampong explained.

Meanwhile, in 2018, TESDA recorded 1,259 rebel returnees enrolled in different technical-vocational courses. (PNA, PIA9/Zamboanga del Sur)r

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