Press Release
August 27, 2019

Senator Joel Villanueva

Mr. President, I rise before you on a matter of personal and collective privilege.

In February 2018, a new law that elevates, empowers and energizes Technical Vocational Education and Training or TVET was signed. This law, Republic Act No. 10970, declares the 25th of August of every year as a special working holiday in observance of the National Tech-Voc Day.

Mr. President, it's only the 2nd year of implementation of this law but we are very happy for the overwhelming support of the entire TVET sector particularly TESDA, being the lead agency in our celebrations.

Unfortunately, the 25th of August falls on a Sunday this year. It is the reason why it is being celebrated this week. So, "Happy National Tech-Voc Day" po to all!

The "World Café of Opportunities", a one-stop shop for jobseekers, which TESDA and its partners organized in different parts of the country is a concrete example of the many benefits of the National Tech-Voc Day to our kababayans.

This is precisely what we want our people, especially the young to see - the fact that there is indeed a world of opportunities in TVET.

And we're very glad that a great proportion of learners in Senior High School, almost 40%1, chose the Technical Vocational Livelihood or TVL Track. And for the past five years, from 2014 to 2018, TESDA has been able to produce 10,517,843 TVET graduates.

As the author of this law, beholding the enthusiasm that everyone has to readily embrace and celebrate the National Tech-Voc Day, is a humbling experience indeed, Mr. President. Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong pagtugon sa hamon ng bagong batas na ito.

And, just a little bit of trivia, Mr. President: August 25th is also the birthday of TESDA. This year, our [favorite] agency is celebrating its silver anniversary. So, to the TESDA family, Happy 25th Anniversary!

As you know, the creation of TESDA was a recommendation of the Educational Commission or EDCOM of 1991, chaired by former Senator Edgardo Angara, the father of our colleague, Senator Sonny Angara who, like his father, is also a staunch advocate of education. Let me add that our good Senate President, Tito Sen, was a member of the 9th Congress when Republic Act 7796 or the TESDA Charter became a law.

Today, we honor all our predecessors who positioned TVET, through the creation of TESDA, as one of the principal drivers for national development, progress and improved quality of life. And I feel proud, Mr. President, for having had a chance to be TESDA's Secretary from 2010 to 2015.

I remember during my early days at TESDA, we had a "Date with Nature" Project. The project is for every TESDAn to plant a tree. And so I brought my son, Jaden, who was just a few months old then, and we planted a Mahogany seedling at the TESDA complex in Taguig. Now, just like TESDA, it has grown into a full grown tree with a promise of providing shade and greenery.

Mr. President, my five years at TESDA allows me to look back and see the importance of TVET in sustaining the future of our industries and giving our people the choices they need to attain a better life.

And now, taking stock of our TESDA experiences, we are continuously toiling in the Legislative to make TVET work for our people.

We in the Senate have always been hand in hand, pushing for legislations supportive of TVET. And I am very thankful, Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, for all of your fervent support and for rallying behind landmark legislations like Republic Act 11230 or the Tulong-Trabaho Act, Republic Act 10968 or the Philippine Qualifications Framework or PQF Law, and Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

I believe that these new laws will be instrumental in our continuing efforts to reduce, if not eliminate, the social bias against TVET and make its impact felt in dealing with unemployment.

Mr. President, just outside the session hall, in line with our desire to raise the image of TVET, we are showcasing the success stories of Tech-Voc graduates through a week-long exhibit.

Isa po sa kanila si Cherry S. Galit, dalawampu't walong taong gulang, at taga-Pandacan, Manila. Mula po si Cherry sa isang broken family.

Pinangarap niyang makapagtrabaho sa hotel pero hindi siya naha-hire dahil sa kawalan ng proper training, kaya, naisip niyang mag-TESDA. Inamin ni Cherry na dumanas siya ng panghahamak dahil sa kanyang pag-aaral sa TESDA.

Kumuha si Cherry ng kursong Food and Beverage Services NC ll noong 2014 at noong 2015 ay kumuha rin siya ng kursong Bartender NC ll.

Habang nag-aaral si Cherry sa TESDA, nakipag-tie-up sa isang beverage company ang TESDA noong 2014. Nakasama si Cherry sa programa. Pagka-graduate ni Cherry, nakatanggap siya ng isang package na mobile bar.

Dito na po nagsimula ang kanyang negosyo mula sa zero capital. At mula sa P5,000 na una nitong kita, nakaipon s'ya hanggang nakabili pa ng pangalawang mobile bar, hanggang naging tatlo na ito sa kasalukuyan. Sa ngayon, isa na siyang professional bartender, negosyante at may-ari ng sikat na JCAB I-Mix Mobile Bar sa Maynila.

Mr. President, I thank Cherry and all Tech-Voc graduates who shared their own narratives with nothing in return. Now, their authentic, personal and passionate stories are influencing more and more young people to choose TVET, to dream, and to act. Their success stories create positive change through information and inspiration.

Mr. President, we have put up this exhibit to bring the value of TVET to life by sharing these remarkable success stories. We hope to initiate if not to culminate a movement that puts premium on TVET.

Inside Committee Room 1, you can also witness our world-class TVET graduates demonstrating not only their skills but also the products of their innovation in robotics, mechatronics, and graphic design. We chose these qualifications to emphasize the need to respond to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where automation and artificial intelligence are becoming the norm more than the exception.

May I share, Mr. President, what I have learned about new technologies and product innovations in our neighboring countries? In Japan, for example, the worldwide race among companies to launch the first self-flying vehicle is taken seriously, as electronic giant NEC tests a drone-like prototype inside a cage in an Abiko facility.

The Japanese government intends at trailblazing and leading the flying car industry. They are poised at making fashionable flying cars normal city rides by the 2030s.

It is to this kind of international, technological, competitive, innovation challenge that TVET, and our whole educational system for that matter, must respond.

I do hope, Mr. President, that as we celebrate this National Tech-Voc Day, our attention and focus are directed towards preparing our graduates in general, not just our Tech-Voc graduates, into this new "work environment", or rather, "new world of work".

For TVET, as for our whole education system, a curriculum revolution is an imperative to respond to the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR. Imagine developing skills for assembly line jobs, only to realize that the available jobs already goes beyond mere competing with robots to doing robotics - that is to say, controlling, programming, and yes, even designing and constructing robots?

In 2011, the famous John Seely Brown of the Xerox PARC Laboratory in Palo Alto California proposed the idea that the half-life of a skill is only five years. This means that half of what our students learn today will become obsolete five years from now!

Mr. President, as your Chairman of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, allow me to share what else I have in mind to reform our education and training systems so that we can respond to the changing world of work:

First, we must link training with industries especially on qualifications pertaining to the use of innovative or additive technologies. This is also a call to our Tertiary Education Institutions to prioritize offering courses responsive to 4IR.

Mr. President, most disciplines available around the country are largely the easy to offer and inexpensive programs that do not require as much investment. As a result, we have an oversupply of graduates who cannot pass their respective licensure exams or get immediate employment.

But access to "quality" is more troublesome, Mr. President. In the Licensure Examination for Teachers or LET alone, the passing rate averages only 30% in the last 10 years which means that only 3 out of 10 examinees would pass the LET.

Second, apprenticeship or enterprise-based training is the preferred training model in many parts of the world and we need to press hard to make it the norm in TVET and in higher learning.

Mr. President, lack of sufficient in-company or on-the-job training is partly blamed why K-12 graduates are not satisfactorily geared up for work. According to's 2018 Fresh Graduate Report, only 24% of employers from manufacturing, professional services, retail machinery and equipment and BPO industries in the Philippines are ready to hire K-12 graduates2.

Data on work-based training from TESDA reinforce the observation that lack of training in authentic work environments deepen job-skills mismatch in the country. TESDA's Apprenticeship Program and Dual Training System or DTS produced only 620,199 graduates or only 5.12% of the 12,110,210 graduates of TVET from 2010-2018.

In this regard, we will file "Training sa Kumpanya para sa Garantisadong Trabaho Act of 2019", to incorporate the existing Enterprise-Based Training programs administered by TESDA and expand the provision of training programs being implemented within companies which can be a mix of workplace training and classroom-based learning.

Along this line of thinking, we must also attract the best and the brightest Filipino students to TVET. It is our belief that not all young Filipinos should go to college. TVET is an excellent career option nowadays as evident in the 25 success stories being showcased in the exhibit just outside the session hall.

Third, we must focus training on science and innovation so that our graduates can keep up with workplace changes. We can do this by creating more or helping our best TESDA Technology Institutions morph into centers of excellence and by recruiting trainors who understand industry, business and the workplace.

Fourth, we must increase our commitment to web-based training. It will not only widen access or resolve the perennial problem of absorptive capacity in TVET, but will also instill independent learning among Filipinos - the foundation of lifelong learning. Moreover, it will develop the skills required in our fast-becoming "uber-economy" as manifested by the call center jobs and telecommuting or work-from-home setups.

Mr. President, we are pushing for the Freelancers Protection Bill or Senate Bill No. 155 precisely to help our people deal with the changing world of work or on a more varied types of work.

There are pockets of success that indicate that these actionable points I raised are doable, Mr. President. For example, the Concepcion Vocational School in Tarlac was recently awarded with a Gold Accreditation by the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission or APACC. It ranked fourth among all accredited institutions in the Asia Pacific.

Mr. President, I saw with my two eyes the transformative power of TVET. This is the reason why I repeat the success stories of our graduates over and over again, to the point of being repetitious until it becomes part of our people's consciousness.

Hence, I challenge our TVET workers, especially our TESDA employees and officials who are present here today: continue to pour your hearts out to the cause of TVET. I always believe that it all starts from aspiring higher and striving harder. We should take part in the struggle; all of us. Let us applaud the success of our Tech-Voc graduates because they bring us hope. Listen to the message they give to every Filipino youth: "If we overcome our obstacles, so you can."

Happy National Technical-Vocational Education and Training Day to all.

Thank you, Mr. President and my esteemed colleagues.

God bless us all.


1 Secretary Briones, 2017 Education Summit; Karol Yee, OSJV Presentation


News Latest News Feed