Press Release
May 30, 2017

Senate approves Tulong-Trabaho Bill on third and final reading

The Senate passed today on third and final reading a bill which sought to narrow the gap of unemployment in the country by providing free tech-voc training and improving the skills of Filipinos who chose not to pursue tertiary education.

Senator Joel Villanueva, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1431 or the Tulong Trabaho Act of 2017, said the measure sought to increase the funding for technical and vocational trainings by providing for a Tulong-Trabaho Fund.

The fund would be administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Villanueva was director-general of TESDA from 2010 to 2015 before he was elected to the Senate in 2016.

"We believe that increasing the allocation of TESDA scholarship programs will lead to greater output and productivity of workers. The measure also seeks to address the job skills mismatch of our workers," Villanueva said.

According to Villanueva, TESDA received P2.2 billion for its Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) last year. However, he said, the amount for TWSP funding remained the same for this year despite the increasing demand for tech-voc courses.

TESDA records showed enrollees of tech-voc courses increased sharply by 45 percent or 2.3 million in 2015 from 1.6 million enrollees in 2010.

Villanueva said the Tulong-Trabaho Fund would shoulder the fees of selected training programs for qualified recipients as well as the possibility of providing additional financial assistance such as transportation allowance and laboratory fees.

"We also propose a Philippine Labor Force Competencies Competitiveness Program which will be established based on our Labor Market Intelligence Reports. The measure also guarantees industry participation and incentives and engagement of local governments," Villanueva said.

"Consistent with the UniFAST Act of 2015, the Tulong-Trabaho fund would pave the way for productivity enhancement and to complement technological change in the workplace," Villanueva said.

The Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act or UniFAST Act of 2015 aims to provide scholarships to qualified students who want to go to study but could not afford to go to college.

Under the Tulong-Trabaho bill, the TESDA Board would approve the list of eligible applications based on the recommendation of the TESDA secretariat. The recipients of the Tulong-Trabahofund would be evaluated periodically to ensure that at least 80 percent of the beneficiaries would be certified after the training program.

Failure to meet the passing rate would subject the recipient industry board to performance review and be audited by the TESDA board, according to the bill.

"The passage of this bill will make tech-voc accessible to all, boost our workers' confidence to face the world of work and ensure that the youth who are ready to work hard with the right skill sets to obtain in-demand jobs," Villanueva said.

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