December 26, 2018

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General, Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, thanked the Senate for ensuring that the almost P5 billion cut from the the agency’s budget will be restored in 2019.

This was announced by Lapeña in his thanksgiving message to the officials and employees of TESDA during the flag raising ceremony held last Dec. 17.

In his message, Lapeña said he attended the budget hearing at the Senate last Dec. 6 in which he was told there was a P4.86 billion cut from the 2019 budget of the agency due to lower spending of the agency’s funds in 2018.

The TESDA chief admitted that he was not able to talk to Senators Loren Legarda and Sonny Angara prior to the hearing but he was able to catch up with Angara later.

Lapeña said he talked to Senators Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Joel Villanueva, former TESDA Director General, and asked for restoration of the agency's budget.

“I explained it to them, to Senators Lacson, Gordon and Villanueva. Of course, iyan ang ating palaging katulong, si Villanueva being former DG of TESDA, and of course to Sen. Angara. I was able to meet them and they committed to restore the full amount back to TESDA, P5 billion maibabalik nang buo,” said Lapeña.

The TESDA chief explained there was delay in the release of the budget which resulted in the agency’s slow spending, affecting the number of clients who could avail of skills training.

Lapena said for the past three years, of the agency's prospective 45 million clients, only 2.7% were served or less than 1% per year.

When Lapeña explained it to Lacson, the senator said that the condition of TESDA is "pathetic”.

Prior to that, Lacson explained his position in restoring the budget, “In 2018, they received the budget from the Commission on Higher Education in September. So there was little time to obligate. That is the reason why they have a very low obligation rate in 2018, only 58 percent.”

Senator Franklin Drilon has promised to finish the budget deliberation for 2019 budget on January 27.