BAGUIO CITY – Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – Cordillera acting Regional Director Manuel Wong has urged Kalinga farmers to avail of the agency’s free skills training to improve their skills and ways of developing their agricultural lands.
“We are encouraging everyone to avail of the government’s programs and services, specifically those in TESDA, not only the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) but also their dependents,” Wong said during the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to more than 600 farmer beneficiaries in Kalinga.
“The skills training will focus on agricultural skills to strengthen the competitiveness of the farmers and to boost their productivity, make them more market-competitive and give the country food security,” he said.
The trainings to be provided to the ARBs are as follows: Agricultural Crops Production NC II, Agricultural Crops NC I, Organic Agriculture Production NC II, Animal Production (Poultry-Chicken) NC II, Animal Production (Swine) NC II, Heavy Equipment Operation – Backhoe Loader NC II, Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) NC II.
The implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP) would provide assistance to farmers as compensation for the projected reduction or loss of farm income arising from the implementation of the rice tariffication law.
TESDA has proposed the allocation of scholarship slots in Kalinga under the RCEP.
The partnership between TESDA and Department of Agrarian Reform is aimed at providing options to new land owners for the purpose of productivity enhancement.
The distribution of CLOAs to the ARBs is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to fast track the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms or CARPER.
Wong informed the ARBs that aside from RCEF, there are other available scholarships that TESDA is offering, such as, Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA), Training for Work Scholarship Programs (TWSP), Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA), and Special Training for Employed Program (STEP).
He said that UAQTEA provides free tuition and other school fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and state-run technical vocational institutions (STVIs), establishing the Tertiary Education Subsidy and Student Loan Program (SLP), strengthening the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST).
He explained that TWSP provides immediate interventions to meet the need for highly critical skills for higher level of technology.
He said the program is in response to the clamor of industry to address the critical skills shortages in priority sectors, particularly Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), metals and engineering, construction and tourism, among others.
“PESFA is an educational grant to marginalized but deserving students in post-secondary non-degree courses while STEP is a community-based special training program that addresses the specific skills needs of the communities and promote employment, particularly through entrepreneurial, self-employment and service-oriented activities,” he said.