Romualdez, other solons bat for bigger budget for TESDA

Martin Romualdez and Isidro Lapeña
HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez (right) congratulates Director General of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Isidro Lapeña (left) after a successful Committee on Appropriations briefing for the 2020 budget of TESDA. Romualdez expressed support for the programs of TESDA aimed at building up the Filipino workforce.
Photo by Ver Noveno

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday underscored the importance of providing additional budget next year for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to ensure more employment for Filipinos.

Romualdez, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, backed more funding support for TESDA after attending yesterday’s House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the proposed P11.851 billion TESDA budget that Director General Isidro Lapeña defended under the 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget.

“TESDA should be given more funds to ensure better and competitive employment opportunities for Filipinos. It’s their mandate to reach out to the unemployed and marginalized people,” Romualdez pointed out after learning that TESDA budget for next year is lower by six percent or from this year’s P12.55 billion to P11.85 billion in 2020. The agency proposed P19.9 billion.

“Our budget proposal [is] in the amount of P19.9 billion and we are just given P11 billion, your Honor. We will be needing about P8 billion,” Lapeña told the panel.

Romualdez and Lapeña also held a brief meeting at the Majority Leader’s office at the Batasan Pambansa Complex where the TESDA chief admitted that the agency needs additional P2.8 billion.

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor also joined Romualdez in his call to give additional funds for TESDA.

“Let us allocate more resources to TESDA whose main mandate is to provide skills, livelihood and job opportunities for Filipinos,” said Defensor who also attended the hearing.

Compared to other agencies whose mandate is to promote education, TESDA budget for next year is much small than the P551.7 billion of the Department of Education (DepEd) and P68.5 billion of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

In the same hearing, RECOBODA party-list Rep. Godofredo Guya echoed the call for additional TESDA funds for skills training.

”Mr. Chair, TESDA is the one giving skills training to Filipino brothers and sisters, giving economic activity in the entire country. In fact, most of our OFWs are trained by TESDA and these are the ones giving more dollars to the country. Are you comfortable Honorable Secretary with this budget, mas maliit ang budget mo kaysa sa DepEd at CHED?” Guya asked.

“Dapat siguro, Mr. Chair, baligtarin natin, we have to give more budget for skills training.  If we look at the underemployed, marami pa. I think we have to look at this,” Guya added.

Lapeña said more funds are very crucial for TESDA operations, explaining Filipinos should have better access to job and livelihood opportunities at all times.

“If we have more budget, we can serve more kababayans that need assistance lalo na yung unemployed even those marginalized, and this will improve yung pyramidal structure ng ating society, improving ‘yung middle class natin,” said Lapeña.

It was learned that out of P11.851 billion TESDA budget for next year, P11.302 million will go to Technical Education and Skills Development Program, P84.3 million to Technical Education and Skills Development Regulatory Program and P49.8 million to Technical Education and Skills Development Policy Program.