Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Isidro dela Peña last week expressed his deep gratitude to Talino at Galing ng Pilipino (TGP) partylist Rep. Jose Teves Jr. for providing a total of P10 million in funding for the repair of two extension campus buildings of the TESDA-run Cabugao School of Handicrafts and Cottage Industries (CSHCI).
In his message read by TESDA Regional Director Elmer Talavera during the Sept. 21, 2021 inauguration of the two buildings in Pandan and Viga, Sec. dela Peña cited Cong. Teves’ contribution of P5 million for the repair of the buildings at the Pandan-Caramoran (PANCAR) extension campus in Pandan and the Panganiban-Viga-Bagamanoc (PAVIBA) campus in Viga.
“This development proves that these TESDA training institutions in Catanduanes are committed to fulfill their duty of providing technical vocational education and training no matter what the situation is,” he said, as he also thanked Gov. Joseph Cua, Cong. Hector Sanchez and Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo as well as Mayor Honesto Tabligan II of Pandan and Mayor Emeterio Tarin of Viga for greatly contributing to the endeavor.
“These facilities will help bring the TESDA program closer to the people,” he said. “Rest assured that the agency will continue to deliver service to every community and help Catandunganons with proper skills training so that they are totally equipped in every situation particularly in these challenging times.”
Cong. Teves gave credit to former TESDA Director General and now Senator Joel Villanueva for helping allocate P5 million each for the rehab of the extension campus buildings in Pandan and Viga.
He said that even though he serves the entire country as a partylist representative, he is working with Governor Joseph Cua and Congressman Hector Sanchez to bring progress and development to Catanduanes.
Together with Sanchez, Cong. Teves has authored House Bill 4686, which seeks to convert the Cabugao School of Handicraft and Cottage Industries into a TESDA-supervised school to be known as the Catanduanes Polytechnic Skills Development Institute.
The bill was approved by the Lower House on Dec. 2, 2020 and was transmitted the following day to the Senate, where it is now being considered by the counterpart Committee on Higher and Technical Education.
He said that he will inquire with the bicameral conference committee regarding the status of the bill upon his return to Manila.
Teves also disclosed that the P70 million promised by the Department of Agriculture for the rehabilitation of typhoon-damaged abaca farms in Catanduanes is now in Malacanang awaiting the signature of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
He likewise bared that, together with the Magsasaka partylist group, he has proposed the merger of the National Irrigation Administration into the Department of Agriculture to avoid duplication of functions.
“Mismo ang Department of Agriculture ang siyang nakakaalam ng mga lugar ng palayan o wala pang patubig,” he pointed out. “Ngayon idadaan pa sa NIA ang mga proyekto sa patubig na naghihintay pa ng impormasyon na galing sa farmers organization ng DA, dobleng binabayaran, iisa naman ang tinatrabaho.”
The former two-termer vice governor also recalled that during his six years at the Capitol, he, PBM Edwin Tanael and CSHCI administrator Elpidio Tuboro crafted the BONG in TVET program that provided skills to more than 5,000 Catandunganons.
He said that upon starting his term as TGP representative in 2019, he immediately allocated P3 million to TESDA in Catanduanes to provide the same skills in technical and vocational courses.
On the other hand, Governor Joseph Cua, who was represented by PBM Robert Fernandez (?), congratulated TESDA for paving the way to more opportunities for Catandunganons.
“The establishment of extension campuses ultimately entail easy access for many Catandunganons who wish to enroll in vocational education or the Technical-Vocational Education and Training because they shall no longer have to traverse to Bato, which is quite a distance away, for their classes,” he remarked.
The provincial chief executive gave his commitment to push the common goal of promoting quality and inclusive vocational education and the delivery of skills development programs, especially to those in far-flung areas.
For his part, Tuboro cited the assistance of the DPWH Catanduanes District Engineering Office, represented by Engr. Nestor Rojas, for implementing the project.
He said that both extension buildings are also being used as evacuation centers of their respective communities during calamities.
In Pandan, the operation of the PAVIBA campus extension will start in two weeks, with 25 slots available for Contact Tracing Level II and 25 slots for Driving NCII.
The proposed training on basic electronics and electrical installation and maintenance will have to await funding as it would require at least P3,000 per barangay for training materials and supplies.
He bared that Cong. Teves has promised to increase the scholarship allocations of TESDA for Catanduanes next year to ensure the continued operation of the two centers in 2022.
Tuboro expressed hope that House Bill 4686 on the conversion of CSHCI into an institute will be realized soon as it includes a manpower component that would operate the two centers on their own without need of complementary staff from CSHCI.