Press Release
July 29, 2020

Villanueva: P1-B fund for TESDA scholarships under Bayanihan 2 to help displaced workers, OFWs train for 'new normal' job market

The P1 billion allocated to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) under the Bayanihan 2 bill would go a long way in training displaced workers and returning overseas Filipino workers, according to Senator Joel Villanueva.

Villanueva said it was high time for the agency to step up to the enormous task of retooling or upskilling workers to help them navigate a job market under the "new normal," especially since the President mentioned the need of workers to be trained.

"Mismo ang Pangulo na po ang nagsaad ng kahalagahan ng karagdagang training para sa ating mga manggagagawang nawalan ng trabaho. TESDA po ang pangunahing ahensya na makakatugon sa panawagan ng ating gobyerno kaya po hinihikayat natin ang pamunuan ng ahensya na ipakita ang kakayahan nito na sanayin at baguhin ang buhay ng mga manggagawa," said Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor committee.

"We've seen first-hand the transformative power of tech-voc in uplifting the quality of life of our workers," added the lawmaker who served as TESDA director general for five years. "It is high time for TESDA to step up to the challenge of the times, and showcase its capability to help our workers to become employable."

Villanueva underscored how the government's COVID-19 response affected the budgets of education agencies like TESDA, which realigned P2.103 billion of its 2020 budget under the Bayanihan 1 Act. The amount mostly came from its scholarship fund.

Under the Bayanihan 2 bill, which the Senate passed on third and final reading on Tuesday, Villanueva facilitated the allocation of P1 billion for the tech-voc agency to enable it to grant scholarships for displaced workers and returning OFWs.

Recognizing the key role of TESDA in the COVID-19 recovery phase, our amendment for a Php1 billion scholarship funds for TESDA is just apt, considering that Php2.103 billion of its 2020 budget has been realigned.

Villanueva also asked TESDA to proactively seek out online sellers and encourage them to take entrepreneurship courses the agency has to help them professionalize the new wave of entrepreneurs.

"TESDA will also play a crucial role to help our online sellers in their enterprise. Training them to run their businesses properly will enable them to succeed in their venture. Our government should be an enabler of their success," the lawmaker said.

The P140-billion Bayanihan 2 bill likewise included important allocations to various labor and education concerns such as cash-for-work assistance for workers (P15 billion), involuntary separation assistance for workers (P17 billion), and ICT infrastructure upgrades for state universities and colleges (P3 billion).

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