The Tapatan sa TESDA in the Cordillera Administrative Region(CAR) provided an opportunity for the various stakeholders to meet and dialogue with the Director General of TESDA, Secretary Guiling A. Mamondiong. A total of 320 participants attended the dialogue, composed of representatives from TVI and TVI associations, Punong Barangays , Regional Line Agencies, Muslim Communities, Farmers’Associations, Indigenous Peoples Groups, Industry Partners, and the media.
The event took the form of a press conference and an open forum. The various sectors also requested for photo ops with Secretary Mamondioing after the open forum.
The Secretary introduced three (3) major programs during his Keynote Address and gave more details during the Press Conference. The first program he explained was Barangay Kasanayan Para sa Kabuhayan at Kapayapaan. Two (2) reforms were introduced to ensure widest access at the grassroots levels: active involvement of the Punong Barangays and implementation of the Online Application System for TESDA Scholarships and Training Programs. He added that all interested, qualified applicants will not be denied the opportunity for TVET.
The Secretary also informed the participants that he is talking with some Congresspersons so that Punong Barangays will also receive salaries and benefits and not just honoraria.
In relation to greater opportunities and access, Secretary Mamondiong announced that 30,000 scholarship slots will be allocated to the Region starting November 2016 until April 2017. If the Region’s absorptive capacity needs more and that the scholarships result in 30,000 skilled and employed workers with entrepreneurial skills, then more slots can be given to CAR.
The second program the Secretary discussed was TESDA Corruption-Free which is a backbone for good governance. He announced that the agency will implement a reward system to discourage abuse of power and corruption among TESDA officials and employees. Individuals who report anomalies will be protected by the agency, especially their identity.
The third program refers to TVET interventions for drug-dependent individuals who are endorsed by the DOH and DSWD who qualify for rehabilitation. Likewise, in support of a drug-free workplace, employees and trainees will undergo drug-testing and those who are confirmed to be drug dependents will receive assistance from the agency for their rehabilitation.
During the open forum, concerns raised included clarifications on TESDA policies and guidelines on program registration, assessment and certification, allegations of anomalies in relation to the scholarship programs, and availment of scholarships. OIC-RD Genaro Ronald C. Ibay also responded to some questions, particularly those that pertain to operations.
The press conference was facilitated by PIA-CAR RD Helen Tibaldo. Participating media outfits included ABS-CBN, GMA 7, PTV 4, DZRH, DZWT, Radyo ng Bayan, Midland Courier, Interaksyon, Herald Express, and Tangguyob.