TESDA ABOT LAHAT. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Isidro Lapeña says some 10.8 million Filipinos graduated technical vocational courses and 7.1 million got their national certificates in the past six years, during his presentation at the second day of the Duterte Legacy Summit on Tuesday (May 31, 2022). He also noted the increase in the employment rate among TVET graduates. (PNA photo)

MANILA -- Out of 11.6 million Filipinos who enrolled in technical vocational (tech-voc) courses for the past six years, around 10.8 million graduated and 7.1 million got their Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) national certificates, Secretary Isidro Lapeña said on Tuesday.

"With the signing of EO No. 83 or Adopting National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan of 2018-2022, TESDA's role in developing a skilled workforce was further underscored," he said during the second day of the Duterte Legacy Summit in Pasay City.

From four scholarship programs prior to the Duterte administration, Lapeña said more scholarship programs have been implemented since then. In 2018, TESDA started implementing free tech-voc education training (TVET) in state-run tech-voc institutions.

"From 2018 (to present), over 1.5 million 'special clients' have availed of various skills training. These clients include former rebels, indigenous people, drug surrenderers, 4Ps beneficiaries, persons deprived of liberty, agrarian reform beneficiaries, as well as families of uniformed personnel who were either killed or wounded in action," he added.

In 2021, TESDA implemented the “Tulong Trabaho” Program, which seeks to provide scholarships to address the job-skills mismatch in the country, and lessen the number of unemployed Filipinos.

"Our guiding principle, 'TESDA Abot Lahat,' has reinforced our mandate of making TVET accessible," Lapeña said.

TESDA brought services to far-flung areas, and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).

He cited the Project TALA (TESDA Alay ay Liwanag) in Sitio Blit, South Cotabato, where TESDA held training on photovoltaic systems installation and distributed solar panels.

He said through TESDA's agricultural courses training, farmers in Barangay Alegria in Alabel, Sarangani generated a sustainable source of income.

Employment rate

Lapeña said based on their annual study on the employment of TVET graduates, an improvement in the graduates' employability was seen during the Duterte administration.

"In the years prior to the current administration, the employment rate of TVET graduates ranged from 60 to 66 percent. The 68.58 percent employment rate in 2018 remarkably increased to 84.15 percent in 2019," he noted.

He said despite the Covid-19 pandemic, TVET graduates' employment rate of 70.51 percent in 2021 rose to 78.57 percent in 2021.

During the Duterte administration, TESDA put up 63 additional training centers nationwide. The first regional training center in Metro Manila was established in 2020.

Three innovation centers were also established to provide the latest in tech-voc, five more are nearing completion, Lapeña said.

Repatriated overseas Filipino workers and their families numbering almost 35,000 have also availed of the free tech-voc programs. Around 19,000 of them were certified as skilled workers.

"The President's promise of free TVET has been instrumental in equipping millions of Filipinos with the right skills for a job or livelihood after their training," Lapeña said. (PNA)