Press Release
February 15, 2017

Villanueva pushes for free tech-voc education

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva, tackled on Wednesday a proposed measure providing free access to programs and training of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Villanueva's Senate Bill No. 1318 or the "Tulong Trabaho Act of 2017" is said to democratize the access to technical and vocational training and strengthen the existing TESDA programs to ensure gainful employment.

Villanueva, who is a former TESDA director-general, explained this can be guaranteed through establishing a Tulong Trabaho Fund that will ensure financial assistance for the qualified applicants. This fund will be included in the budget of TESDA.

"We want to help people find decent jobs, especially those who are financially incapable to enroll in tertiary education, to acquire skills and easily find work. Through this proposal, the needed skills in the market are determined and addressed through skills training. This, in turn, will help reduce jobs-skills mismatch," Villanueva said adding that the measure seeks to rationalize the government's process in giving educational assistance.

However, the senator clarified that the financial assistance in the Tulong Trabaho program is geared not solely towards education or finishing a degree, but "gaining training and technical knowledge with a view to a definitive job market or livelihood requirement need."

"This bill seeks to ensure that not only high school graduates or those eligible for SUCs will be provided financial assistance, but all Filipinos with potential for gainful and sustainable employment and livelihood," Villanueva shared.

The program is open to unemployed Filipinos, high-school graduates, and workers who seek to enhance their respective skills.

The senator explained that the Tulong Trabaho bill is consistent and expands the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or the UniFAST Act of 2015 which is already existing for the purposes of secondary education.

"This bill actually opens up the financial assistance to persons other than high school graduates, and can also include persons employed in the informal economy or informal job market. This then opens up the opportunity for them to expand their skill set and improve their present employment situation, as well," Villanueva stressed.

Qualified applicants will be accepted based on criteria determined by the Tulong Trabaho Board headed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. These would include income, level of education, as well as other standards for these training programs.

The determination of the programs that will be offered will be based on the Labor Market Intelligence Reports, quantitative data of the NEDA and DOLE, as well as definitive job data to be able to truly meet the demands of the job market.

"We want to ensure that through the implementation and institutionalization of this program, our people would have just and fair access to opportunities that will alleviate them from poverty. Through free access to training, more underprivileged people would be empowered to enhance their skills and use these to achieve gainful employment," Villanueva concluded.

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