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Retraining workers


WHILE the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the economy, the government remains committed to come up with highly-effective programs designed to meet the employment needs of the people.

Specifically, concerned state authorities continue to unveil comprehensive programs designed to provide the jobless, notably those displaced by the unseen but deadly virus, with quality jobs.

For instance, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offers tuition-free technical-vocational education and training (TVET) programs to ex-OFWs and other displaced workers.

Formerly known as the National and Manpower Youth Council (NMYC), TESDA is headed by retired 3-star police Gen. Isidro S. Lapena, a member of PMA Class 1973 from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

Graduates of TVET courses can use their new competencies to obtain new jobs in the Philippines or abroad, according to Aniceto Bertiz III, TESDA deputy director-general for partnerships and linkages.

Bertiz said that data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) showed that a total of 204,481 OFWs have returned home since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Of the number, 69,477 are sea-based.

The pandemic has also forced many local private establishments, like shopping malls, transportation companies and manufacturing firms, to retrench many of their workers due to lack of customers.

Thus, it is certainly heartening to know that TESDA has not shown any sign of backing off from its commitment to provide new knowledge and capabilities for gainful employment.

Under the Duterte administration, tuition and other fees are free not only in state universities and colleges but also in government -run TVET institutions and even in TESDA-registered private schools.

Next year, TESDA is getting P2.9 billion to pay for all the tuition and miscellaneous fees of students in TVET schools throughout the country, according to Bertiz, a former member of Congress.

Without doubt, TESDA plays a stellar role in addressing the country’s joblessness and underemployment problems that have been aggravated by the still raging COVID-19 pandemic.