On October 30, 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appointed Isidro Samson Lapeña as the 12th Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), tasked to manage and supervise technical education and skills development (TESD) in the Philippines.
Immediately after assuming the post, Secretary Lapeña made his mission for the agency loud and clear – that is for TESDA to reach out to all sectors of society, more importantly those in the lower strata, - which is captured in TESDA’s battle cry, “TESDA, Abot Lahat.”
Under his guidance and leadership, TESDA is expected to reach out those who have less in life and afford them with opportunities thru scholarships and training.
On top of his agenda as TESDA chief is to assist and facilitate the gainful employment or livelihood of the graduates after their training and education.
Early on in his administration, Secretary Lapeña ordered a stricter policy in the Omnibus Guidelines for 2019 TESDA Scholarship Programs which, among others, now discourage anomalies and illegal activities by implementing stricter monitoring of training programs and trainees' attendance. He has set a higher employment rate for the graduates for the technical-vocational institutions to strictly observe.
He also ordered the amendment of the Omnibus Guidelines on Program Registration under the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UPTRAS) which provides for sanctions and penties for erring private technical-vocational institutions (TVIs).
Director General Lapeña ensured that the amended guidelines will include stiffer penalties for erring TVIs, as well as TESDA personnel, for which CSC (Civil Service Commission) rules shall be strictly enforced.
Prior to his appointment at TESDA, Isidro Lapeña was appointed on August 30, 2017 as the 39th Commisisoner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Aware of the daunting task ahead and guided by the marching orders of the President, to stop corruption and increase revenue collection, Commissioner Lapeña crafted his Five-Point Priority Program upon assuming the highest Customs post.
It was under his leadership that the Bureau of Customs was able to hit and exceed its monthly targets. Very notable under his time, Customs exceeded its target for eight straight months from February to September in 2018. 11 months out of his 14 months in office, the Bureau of Customs made record-breaking revenue collection.
Topping his major transformative measures is the strict directive to the Bureau personnel to stop the practice of benchmarking, replacing it with the strict directive to apply the correct valuation and tariff classification on all imports coming into the country.
Prior to his stint in the Bureau of Customs, Isidro Lapeña was appointed as the 5th Director-General of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on July 1, 2016, the country’s frontliner in the war against drugs. With only a year at the helm, he was able to enhance the operational systems and organizational capability of the agency. Among the policies implemented during his time cover internal affairs, work ethics, conduct of duties, and other operational procedures. He is also the first Chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
As a member of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), he was instrumental in the issuance of thirteen DDB regulations that intensified the anti-drug campaign nationwide.
Under his leadership, he embarked on bringing the anti-drug campaign to the grassroots level down to the barangay. With the support of the various Barangay Anti Drug Abuse Councils and the Philippine National Police, a total of 4,552 barangays were transformed from being drug-affected to drug-cleared in a span of only one year.
Isidro Lapeña was born in Urdaneta, Pangasinan on January 2. He graduated from Urdaneta City National High School and from the Philippine Military Academy of the Maagap Class of 1973. He earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration in Manuel L. Quezon University before he become a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology conferred by the Philippine College of Criminology.
He was an active officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP), being appointed to lead one office to another.
He was the Deputy Director for Administration of the PNP Special Action Force Command from 1994-1996.
Lapeña became the City Director of the Davao City Police Office from 1996-1998 and the Regional Director of the Regional Headquarters, Police Regional Office 11 from 2002 - 2004.
From 2003-2006, he was the Chief of the Directorial Staff, National Headquarters and from 2006-2007 the Deputy Chief PNP for Operations, National Headquarters.