March 10, 2019

TESDA chief, Director-General Secretary Isidro Lapeña said Sunday that the agency is taking more concrete steps to protect the integrity of the agency's training and scholarship programs.

It can be recalled that the TESDA chief immediately ordered the amendment of the agency's Omnibus Guidelines on Program Registration under the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS) particularly Section XVII which provides for sanctions and penalties for erring private technical-vocational institutions (TVIs).

Lapeña has previously warned TVIs not to violate TESDA's rules. Violations shall no longer be tolerated by the agency.

Section 17 now considers fraud, misrepresentation or mere public offering of unregistered training course, qualification or program as grave violation. Any TVIs found to have committed this act shall be ordered to cease and desist from offering unregistered training course.

Any false declaration, fraud, deceit in connection with the TVIs/company's submission of documentary requirements in its application for program registration shall now result in the revocation of all Certificate of TVET Program Registration (CTPRs). TESDA issues the CTPR to a program offering that meets its standards.

Sharing of program registration by a TVI to either its affiliate, branch or any third person is also strictly prohibited.

The failure of the TVI to continuously comply within a specified time frame as determined in any audit shall now be considered a violation.

The conduct of ghost training and use of ghost trainees, as well as exaction of any unauthorized fees from the trainees, will be penalized with revocation of the CTPRs for the program concerned and all other existing CTPRs of the erring TVI.

Payment of scholarship funds shall be disapproved and the TVI shall be delisted and prohibited from applying for any program registration.

Meanwhile, Lapeña assured the stakeholders and the public that TESDA personnel will also be made accountable if found to have taken part in violating the guidelines. They shall be subject to proper disciplinary actions in accordance with the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RACCS).

In addition, Lapeña said that all TESDA regional and provincial offices have been directed to partner with industry chambers and associations in order to increase the employment opportunities of TVET graduates.

He has also instructed them to actively engage with other government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment and other private institutions which can help facilitate employment of training graduates.

On another note, Lapeña said that he will respect the next steps to be taken by the Office of the Ombudsman after an employee from TESDA filed graft charges against 11 officials also from TESDA for alleged "conspiracy in the failed bidding for the procurement of starter toolkits” for scholarship beneficiaries which took place before he was appointed as TESDA chief.

Also, Secretary Lapeña, in the exercise of due diligence and due process, has previously directed the immediate investigation involving the alleged conspiracy in the failed bidding even prior to the filing of the said case in the Ombudsman.