House panel OKs bills on new TESDA centers nationwide

The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education approved on Monday, Jan. 30, 25 bills that would establish technical vocation training centers in various municipalities and cities in the country.

(TESDA/Manila Bulletin)

The House panel, chaired by Baguio City Lone District Rep. Mark Go, passed during its hearing the bills that would create Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training and assessment/ accreditation centers in different parts of the country.

The explanatory note in each bill served as the lawmakers’ sponsorship speeches.

Go agreed with lawyer Joyce Balong of TESDA on the need to change the wordings of certain bills and clarify that TESDA and the local government units (LGUs) would serve as partners since the former has no administrative supervision over how each municipality runs the training centers.

“Given the provisions except, of course, the location of these different centers but definitely, we would conform with the standards set forth by TESDA in the creation of training and assessment centers,” Go said during the hearing.

The proposed measures are House Bills (HBs) 323, 2047, 2196, 2330, 2333, 2505, 2506, 2525, 2948, 3066, 3262, 3319, 3320, 3356, 3524, 3583, 3626, 3679, 4328, 4817, 6239, 6409, 6459, 6460 & 6546, or “Establishing TESDA training and assessment/accreditation centers in certain parts of the country and appropriating funds therefor.”

These were authored by Reps. Alan 1 Ecleo, Kristine Alexie Tutor, Arnie Fuentebella, Adrian Michael Amatong, Jose Francisco Benitez, Gerardo Espina Jr., Charisse Anne Hernandez, Joseph Lara, John Tracy Cagas, Harris Christopher Ongchuan, Laarni Lavin Roque, Princess Rihan Sakaluran, Eric Buhain, OLY, Peter John Calderon, Ma. Victoria Co-Pilar, Ed Christopher Go, Mujiv Hataman, Joseph Gilbert Violago, Rudys Caesar Fariñas I, Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr., and Mohamad Paglas.

The proposed measures would establish the TESDA training center in Libjo in Dinagat Islands, Candijay in Bohol, Tigaon in Camarines Sur, Labason in Zamboanga del Norte, Murcia in Negros Occidental, Kawayan in Biliran, Naval in Biliran, Calamba City in Laguna, Amulung in Cagayan, Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, Laoang in Northern Samar, Pangantucan in Bukidnon, Isulan in Sultan Kudarat, Balayan in Batangas, and Isabela City in Basilan, among others.

Balong, a representative of TESDA, thanked the lawmakers for recognizing “the need for the establishment of training centers to train our people especially post-pandemic.”

However, she noted that under Republic Act 7796, which created the TESDA, its structure is limited to the provisional level only.

“Hence, we do not exercise administrative supervision over municipal training centers and under Section 29 of RA 7796 or TESDA Act of 1994, magma-manage po ng aming (the one who manages our) municipal training centers ay ating mga (are our) LGUs so ito po ang direksyon namin ngayon (this is our direction now) that the training function will be devote(d) to the local government units, Mr. Chair,” she said.

The official also requested that the word “assessment” be removed from the proposed measures because application and accreditation process would be needed for an assessment center.

Balong also raised concerns regarding HB 2047 by Tutor because the bill proposed that the appropriations for the training centers be taken from TESDA’s current fiscal year’s unexpended and unobligated appropriations.

“We have a concern here since we do not exercise administrative function over municipal training center as manifested earlier. Kung pwede po sana mai-word siya na (If we can word it the same way) the other bills are worded,” she explained, giving as example HB 2196 by Fuentebella.

Under the proposed measure, “The Director General of the TESDA shall include in the Authority's program the operation of the Center, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.”

“The LGUs concerned, in consultation with the TESDA, shall set aside from any available local revenue an amount deemed appropriate as annual counterpart fund to support the operation of the Center herein established,” it furthered.

“In this regard, Mr. Chair, since sabi nga po natin (we said) we are devolving the training functions to the local government units, we deemed that should be captured in all of the bills kasi partnership pong lumalabas dito, na may (because this is a partnership, there are) funds galing from TEADA and at the same time may (there are) funds galing dun sa (from the) LGU,” Balong explained.

HB 6459 by Zubiri, who delivered his speech, during the hearing aims “to equip the citizens with basic practical knowledge and technical expertise, is geared towards a society that would be self-reliant, productive and more importantly employable.”

The training center in Kibawe, Bukidnon would serve 23 barangays there, and “will lead to huge potential and economic rewards not only for the families but also to the community.”

“It will raise the standard of living and benefit the country,” the bill stated.

"The Training and Assessment Center shall further boost employment and employability in the Dinagat Islands, through trainings and activities which would help build vocational and technical skills and expertise among Dinagatnons," Ecleo, author of HB 323, said.

Hataman’s HB 4328, on the other hand, said that the local TESDA training center would help fulfill the technical-vocational education and training (TVET) needs of the people of Isabela City.

“And given that Basilan has one of the highest incidences of poverty and has one of the most inequitable distributions of wealth in the country today, the creation of the Isabela City TESDA Training Center is now of utmost importance,” the bill’s explanatory note stressed.