Press Release
October 18, 2021

Opening remarks of Senator Joel Villanueva, vice chair of the Senate finance committee, hearing the 2022 budget proposal of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

Mapagpalang umaga po sa ating lahat.

As I was looking around our colleagues at TESDA, I was reminded of one word which is very famous everytime we conduct meetings, executive meetings in TESDA, and that word would be "anticipation.

Whatever we are doing in TESDA is important, but with no anticipation, we are on the verge of becoming irrelevant. And we know that relevance is crucial in job creation, especially for an agency like TESDA, which is at the heart of the country's National Employment Recovery Strategy or NERS.

When it comes to training and jobs, the situation is always changing. And these changes were accelerated by the pandemic years - 2020, 2021 and the coming year 2022.

We cannot deny the potential of our agency to help our people back on their feet, despite the COA findings and the ensuing criticisms against TESDA, especially when it comes to low utilization of scholarship funds.

My belief has never wavered. Among education agencies, TESDA is the most responsive to change because TVET is not only flexible but also "permeable".

It's within this perspective that I intend to approach the proposed budget of TESDA for 2022.

We're banking on the track record of TESDA. Halimbawa po, for the past decade, we were able to produce 20 million graduates and a lot of them, about 70 percent of them were employed, just in a span of 10 years.

While there were challenges, the mechanisms and processes to address them are already in place, like the nationwide ISO 9001:2015 Certification.

Some of the remedies to enhance our absorptive capacity can also be found in the TESDA Charter such as the devolution of TESDA's training functions to local governments and partnerships with the private sector, most especially, our TVIs.

Amid the continuing restrictions on face-to-face training and assessment, we are one step ahead of the others because of the TESDA Online Program or TOP which has been in existence long before the pandemic.

And with the institutionalization of web-based training under the Tulong-Trabaho Law, which we passed thanks to Senator Drilon, I can assure you that our intention as the principal author and sponsor of this law is to help more MSMEs and entrepreneurs to take advantage of emerging business opportunities, especially in digital technology.

Today we are here to help you find more solutions to the challenges besetting the agency as the result of the pandemic and new normal.

Inaasahan ko po na sama-sama po tayong hahanap ng solusyon at umaasa po tayo sa klarong sagot kung bakit nangangailangan daw ng dagdag at mas malaking pondo sa 2022 ang TESDA, gayong maraming hindi magamit o ibinabalik ang pondo sa mga nagdaang taon.

Kaya ang gagawin po nating pagbusisi sa budget ng TESDA, kasama ng ating mga colleagues dito sa Senado, ay kung paanong magagamit nang husto ang ating mga training program at scholarship fund para tulungan ang mga unemployed na magkatrabaho at mabigyan ng skills upgrading ang mga existing worker para makasabay sila sa klase ng mga trabaho ngayon.

Sa taas po ng unemployment rate natin na 8.1%, hindi po uubrang hanggang enrollment at graduate lang ang tinitingnan natin, kundi yung assessment at certification siyempre napakahalaga po niyan, at higit sa lahat matiyak [po natin na may naghihintay na trabaho sa mga kinonduct na training program ng TESDA.

Uulitin ko po: Ang TRAINING AT TRABAHO po ang ultimate test ng relevance ng mga programa ng TESDA. Skills training is crucial in job creation, and TESDA's 2022 budget will play a super important role in putting our people to work through relevant technical-vocational education.

Finally, I would like to say that amid the pandemic, we want our youth to enter the world of work with confidence. We do not want them to become part of the unemployment and underemployment statistics, or trapped in jobs earning poverty line wages.

In 2022, let us give them enough options to hone their skills and to deal with the "new normal" and the ever-changing world of work through greater ACCOUNTABILITY on the proposed P14.5-Billion budget of TESDA.

Muli, maraming salamat po, God bless us all.

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