Ompong victims in Itogon top priority for TESDA grants says chief

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ITOGON, BENGUET–Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) acting regional director Engr. Manuel Wong assured that the agency will prioritize Itogon residents in availing of the scholarship programs as the government’s continuing support to them.

“We will continue to support and give priority to Itogon residents to avail of the government’s scholarship programs,” said Engr. Manuel Wong, TESDA acting regional director in a press conference here on May 16.

TESDA, together with other agencies conducted an activity for the victims of typhoon “Ompong” in September 2018, as part of the government’s continuing support to the victims of calamities.

He said that TESDA allocated a PHP3-million fund for the scholarship which was used to finance the materials needed by the beneficiaries and a provision for PHP160 a day training allowance.

“Initially the skills offered by TESDA to the displaced miners were SMAW National Certificate (NC) l, Masonry NC ll, Carpentry NC ll, Enterprise Information Management (EIM) NC ll, and Basic Customer Services,” he said.

Under TESDA’s Bangon Itogon program, 300 training slots were opened where 279 individuals availed of the scholarship, 268 of them graduated and got their certification.

“Budget for the trainees came from TESDA-CAR and TESDA Benguet as an immediate response for the victims after the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong,” he said.

The regional director reiterated the agency’s effort to bring the government’s services closer to the victims.

He said that tool kits, or guides for starting up a business, were also provided.

“This is to streamline government programs and services in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to come up with a short term plan leading to long and sustainable livelihood program for the victims,” Wong said.

In September 17, 2018, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu issued a stoppage order for all small-scale mining activities in the entire Cordillera which economically displaced thousands of miners.

Free TESDA Training

Wong said there are three available scholarships that TESDA is currently offering: the Training for Work Scholarship Programs (TWSP), Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA), and Special Training for Employed Program (STEP).

TWSP provides immediate interventions to meet the need for the highly critical skills for higher level of technology.

He said the program is in response to the clamor of the industry to address the shortage in needed critical skills, particularly the Business Process Outsourcing, metals and engineering, construction and tourism, among others.

PESFA is an educational grant given to marginalized but deserving students in post-secondary non-degree courses; while the STEP is a community-based specialty training program that addresses the specific skills needs of the communities and promote employment, particularly through entrepreneurial, self-employment and service-oriented activities.

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