June 16-17, 2020 | Virtual Meeting Via Zoom

Magandang umaga!

It has been exactly 3 months to the day when President Rodrigo Duterte imposed an Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country on March 16.  Within two weeks, almost the whole country came under one form of quarantine or the other.

The declaration restricted the movements of the people, led to the temporary closure of non-essential businesses. The quarantine also immobilized other activities which may further spread COVID-19.  In effect, it brought the Philippines to a standstill.

When we all met last March 6 at the TESDA auditorium for the previous general directorate conference, I doubt if any of us ever expected that we will be meeting again under these very different circumstances.

So, I welcome everyone here today, to the 5th General Directorate Conference, our very first virtual conference under the new normal.

Let us also welcome to our GDC, the newest member of our family, Deputy Director General for Partnerships and Linkages, DDG Aniceto “John” Bertiz III.

While we all struggled facing the pandemic, I am glad that we were able to make TESDA relevant during these very trying times. 

And so, I would like to congratulate and thank all the TESDA operating units which have contributed to TESDA’s “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” initiatives, specially to those who continue to help design, develop, produce and distribute our face masks, face shields, other PPEs, and disinfectants.

This crisis also made us realize the significance of our agriculture programs, especially our mini-organic farms.  True enough, our mini-organic farms helped sustain the need of our affected kababayan for a sufficient food supply.

I would say however that it is unfortunate that we have to experience this pandemic to see the impact and benefit of our mini-organic farms. 

Our survival phase is supposed to end this month, following our Oplan Tesda Abot Lahat: TVET Towards the New Normal.  The Planning Office shall be giving us the highlights of this phase as well as the status of the agency via our OPCR and program expenditure classification indicators vis-à-vis the Oplan.

It is also during this survival phase that we are setting new ways on how to do our business, and these new modes on program registration and competency assessment & certification, compliance audit, enterprise based training and partnership and linkages, among others shall be discussed by the concerned executive offices.

This shall, of course include the flexible learning delivery modes that we will be adopting as the norm for us to be able to better perform our core mandate of training provision under new social and economic environments.

May I remind our school administrators to ensure that all our trainers undergo the “facilitating e-learning course” designed by the NITESD.  This is done to capacitate the competencies of our trainers in delivering TVET via e-learning modes. 

In the past few months, we have come to rely even more heavily on technology and telecommunications.  To guide us with this, we shall be hearing presentations as well on the TESDA Data Privacy Manual, and our acceptable use policy for it resources.

As we enter into the transition phase of our Oplan, we will be hearing from our regional offices of their own programs and catch-up plans.

There is every indication that the virus that has caused all this disruption will not be going away soon.  As there is still no vaccine or cure in sight, our best weapons against it is still prevention, and our best course of action is to plan carefully on how to carry on with our work.

We have placed another mechanism to ensure readiness in our workplace amid COVID-19 threats.  By now, I hope that everyone has completed the TESDA online course, “Practicing COVID-19 Preventive Measures in the workplace”

This virus has given everyone a challenge as well as an opportunity to change and evolve.  I have no doubt that after all this is done, we shall emerge with an even better TVET system for the country, and a workforce that is even more resilient to crises.

As I close, I would like to thank the Regional Operations Management Office, headed by Director Angelina Carreon for making the arrangements for this assembly. 

I look forward to a productive two days ahead.  Maraming salamat at mabuhay po tayong lahat.

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