Press Release
March 12, 2008


The Philippine Senate has approved on second reading a bill establishing livelihood and skills training centers in the fourth, fifth and sixth class municipalities to open employment opportunities, combat poverty and improve the quality of life of Filipinos.

The bill was introduced last year by Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, and approved on second reading by the Senate last March 5. Final approval of the bill on third reading is only a matter of formality.

The final bill was authored by Senators Legarda, Benigno Aquino III and Juan Ponce Enrile as members of the committees on economic affairs, on justice, welfare and rural development and on local government and finance, to which the bill was referred after first reading.

In her sponsorship speech, Loren described the bill "as a capability -building measure with a trinity of objectives: enhance the skills of workers, enhance their knowledge and enhance their attitudes to make them ready for either gainful employment or successful entrepreneurship."

The centers will be established in fourth, fifth and sixth class towns, but other towns may follow suit upon recommendation of the National Anti-Poverty Commission based on its poverty and unemployment data.

The municipal government shall be responsible for instituting and maintaining the center with the assistance of a municipal advisory board to be chaired by the municipal mayor and to be composed of representatives of the private sector.

Private sector representatives would include those from business organizations such as chambers of commerce and cooperatives, micro, small and medium scale enterprises, rural bankers, civil society organizations and people's organizations undertaking livelihood and skills training.

Ex-officio members of the advisory board include the provincial officers of the departments of interior and local government, agriculture, trade and industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The centers shall provide "livelihood and skills training services that will develop individual or collective knowledge, skills and attitudes of residents in communities, for the purpose of enhancing their capability to engage in more productive employment and/or entrepreneurship."

The centers shall also establish a satellite or mobile livelihood and skills training in a barangay or cluster of barangays where it is deemed necessary by the municipal mayor to ensure that the skills training to reach the intended beneficiaries.

Any private person, group, organization or business entity may sponsor the establishment of a satellite or mobile center in any barangay or cluster of barangays provided their program is consistent with the objectives of the law.

The municipal mayor shall have overall supervision over the program and services of the center, while the national government shall assist the local governments in instituting and maintaining it. The municipal government shall set aside funds from any available local revenues for the operation and maintenance of the center. The center may also receive donations or bequests of property or services for the implementation of the program.

In stressing the importance of skills development through training centers, Senator Legarda said in her sponsorship speech, "We should not also forget the historical fact: it was our skilled workers sent to overseas jobs under an institutionalized overseas employment program, that have been our economic if support system for more than three decades now."

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