Healing, Rehabilitation, Recovery: TESDA offers answers to a crisis

Bangon Marawi! Bangon Mindanao!

Filipinos have long believed that to achieve sustainable stability in Mindanao the government needed to prioritize and focus its efforts on much-needed programs that would benefit the island’s more than 21 million inhabitants.

The recent unrest that erupted in the once-peaceful city of Marawi have caused many to express their concern, and as the fighting still continues between terrorists and government forces, displaced Marawi residents, the unfortunate victims of the conflict, have steadily trickled into the outlying areas seeking safety.

“Bangon Mindanao”, a common battle cry on the island that calls for development and economic progress, has now taken a new and more urgent meaning.

To show its concern for the people of Marawi City, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has come up with various projects that would eventually benefit not only those affected by fighting in the city but the island of Mindanao as well.

On July 19 at the Iligan City National High School in Mahayahay, TESDA will launch a national program which includes several initiatives that seek to provide immediate and long-term solutions to the inevitable issues that will arise as a result of the fighting.

 “We at TESDA foresee an impending crisis in employment brought about by the conflict in Marawi that may affect the island of Mindanao if not the whole country.  To minimize this, programs that will empower our compatriots and give them something to look forward to have to be initiated now.  There is no time to waste,” according to TESDA Director General, Secretary Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong.

TESDA's national program includes Massive Skills Training and the TESDA Emergency Program for TVET Trainers and Assessors (TEPTTA).  This will coincide with the turn-over of Mobile Training Laboratories (MTL) to 10 selected poor provinces in the country among other activities.

Massive Skills Training

Through the program dubbed “Marawi Crisis Massive Skills Training for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iligan City and Cgayan de Oro City,” those residents affected by war will be given the chance to undergo skills training in 2 “phases”.  Phase 1 provides livelihood/short courses, while Phase 2 includes construction-related and other in-demand courses.

TESDA hopes to assist 5,400 beneficiaries, of which 4,500 will come from Iligan City; and 900 from Cagayan de Oro City.

Covered by the Phase 1 of the program are courses such as Massage Therapy; Food Processing; Bread and Pastry Production; Cookery; Haircutting and Beauty Care, while courses under Phase 2 are Carpentry; Electrical Installation and Maintenance; Pipefitting; Masonry; Plumbing and Welding.

Psychosocial Intervention for the IDP Youth

During the Massive Training Induction Program and Training Demonstration for Internally Displaced Persons held last July 16 for some 2,000 evacuees in Iligan City, TESDA also unveiled another initiative that concentrates on giving mental health and psychosocial support (MHPS) for the internally displaced persons from Marawi, particularly the youth who are most vulnerable after their traumatic experience.

The Psychosocial Intervention for the IDP Youth Project is for IDP’s aged 15-20 years old and includes components such as cultural integration, Islamic teachings, peace advocacy, and livelihood training.  It is designed to run for 3-6 months based on the needs of the IDP’s and seeks not only to provide the youth with the skill set needed for their reintegration to the community but also the emotional and social the support they need to continue living with hope and dignity.

TESDA Regional Office 10 have partnered with the Ranaw Foundation for the Project which initially targets some 150 youth IDPs.

“Our brothers and sisters are scared, their spirits broken.  To rebuild Mindanao and re-establish the community’s faith in law and order, we need to start with treating emotional wounds.  People’s damaged psychological conditions, whether they care to admit them or not, will need to be addressed before the actual rebuilding can begin,” said Mamondiong.

TESDA Emergency Program for TVET Trainers and Assessors

To coincide with the launch of the Authority’s national program is the TESDA Emergency Program for TVET Trainers and Assessors (TEPTTA) which aims to produce trainers and assessors for the country's technical vocational (tech-voc) system. 

TESDA aims to come up with 3,004 trainers and 2,725 assessors this year.  The Agency has identified some 4,735 trainers that will need to renew their National TVET Trainers Certificates until the end of 2017.

Mobile Training Laboratory

TESDA, through its Mobile Training Laboriatories (MTL), plans to give free but quality training services to the poor in far-flung areas seeking to improve the lives of affected residents.

The Mobile Training Laboratory (MTL) is a training delivery model designed to implement technology-based training programs in far-flung communities of the country’s 10 poorest provinces in terms of poverty incidence through portable boxes containing tools and equipment, mock-ups and training packages in designated places in the community as a venue of training.  A total of 60 MTLs, at six MTLs for each province, shall be fabricated and delivered.

Training programs under MTL are Appliance Repair; Bread and Pastry; Cookery; Electrical Installation and Maintenance; Food Processing; Plumbing and Small Engine Repair.

The ten areas nationwide that will initially benefit from  MTL are the provinces of Apayao; Masbate; Northern Samar; Eastern Samar; Zamboanga del Norte; Camiguin; Lanao del Sur; Maguindanao; Northern Cotobato and Saranggani where the agency wants to give 36,850 skills training every year.

Helping TESDA in this project is the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Skills Development towards Family Enterprises

TESDA has recently tied up with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) after both groups signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would help improve the lives of Filipinos through skills training.

The “Skills Development towards Family Enterprises” will be launched in Cagayan de Oro City on July 20.

Based on the MOA, members of Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) will be given training on on entrepreneurship.  A BEC is composed of seven to eight families organized by the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the CBCP which will help them get closer to the church and eventually improve their lives.

TESDA continues with its Skills Mapping project to identify what specific skills training are needed in different areas of the country.  The same program hopes livelihood training as well to teach residents how to become self-sufficient through entrepreneurial ventures.

Employing a scheme that has proven to be effective, TESDA will also give skills training to affected families in Marawi City via training-cum-production.  This seeks to engage trainees in the rebuilding of their communities while acquiring a skill.

Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda

The Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA) aims to bring the programs and services of the national government to ARMM and the conflict-affected areas of Regions 9, 10, and 12 in Mindanao. It was launched last October 29, 2016.

Prior to this, Secretary TESDA had convened an inter-agency group to discuss and prioritize agency program commitments and to outline what would be implemented until the year 2022 to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people in the mentioned regions.

The CRDA is divided into three phases: Basic Needs, Infrastructure Development and Economic Development.  Each phase is further divided into key result areas (KRAs) for efficient implementation and monitoring.  Through the CRDA, the government would be able to identify on the needs of Mindanao and provide solutions in the near future.

Assisting with the CRDA are local government units heads/representative; provincial/municipal/city planning officers; provincial/municipal engineers; civil society organizations; ARMM region heads and counterparts; concerned national government agencies/inter-agency; industry groups; TVET association/academe; regional/provincial TESD committees; TVET partners and stakeholders; media partners, among others.

“There is no better time than now when Filipinos can show the world that we are united, that we do not tolerate lawlessness in any form, and that no measure of violence or act of terrorism can deny our right to live peacefully and work for the advancement of the country,” said Mamondiong.