TESDA Women’s Center, Taguig City, December 6, 2019

Magandang umaga sa ating lahat!

Welcome everyone to the 3rd General Directorate Conference.  I am happy to meet all of you after our GDC last July. My compliments to the Regional Operations Management Office (ROMO) for arranging this conference, and to Region IV-A (CALABARZON) for hosting.

Let us be thankful that we are here and fortunate to have been spared from the devastation of typhoon tisoy.  I expect that the concerned Regional and Provincial Directors will visit the affected sites and be on the ground after our GDC.  We should be able to bring them the intervention they need to be able to rebuild their lives immediately. Let us gather donations for our less fortunate kababayan who have been badly hit by the typhoon.  

This is very relevant with our theme for this GDC, “TESDA Abot Lahat: Making a Difference.”  

Our 3rd GDC happening in the last month of the year is just appropriate - when we have to evaluate the Agency’s and our own performance vis-a-vis our targets and directives.

Let this last leg of our directorate conference remind us all to go beyond the mile in performing our mandate. Our work will never be done, but rest assured we will soon see the results of our labor, and the difference it has made in the lives of our kababayan.

The last 12 months have been very productive for TESDA.  When I marked my first year with the Agency in November, I mentioned some of our new policies, innovations and accomplishments.  None of them would have been achieved had we not shared the same vision and commitment.  For this, I also thank all of you.

As we hear the different presentations from some of the officers today and tomorrow, and as we start to cement the plans for next year, let me share some of my priority thrusts.

Intensify our hiring and promotion. To date, we have hired and promoted more than 600 employees, but this has left residual vacancies of almost 500 employees which will need to be filled up.  We will prioritize and consider for promotion the employees who have already served for many years in the Agency as well as hire the qualified job order personnel. 

The DBM had committed to approve another 60 provincial training center positions this year and an additional 996 next year.  Let us work to fill these, as once TESDA is fully staffed, we will be better able to render our services. This is also timely since our job orders will only be until December 2020.

Our emphasis on agriculture shall continue because we need to ensure the nation’s food security, and the sector holds the most potential for growth. TTIs must be ready to implement agriculture-related programs. You will have a workshop on this later, to assess our capability and ensure our readiness to implement this. 

I encourage our leaders on the ground to grasp any opportunity for partnerships with the local government or other entities to establish farm schools or make similar arrangements to enable us to train more people for the sector.

Strengthen our effort in reaching out far flung areas to address poverty and promote peace and order. This is one way of ensuring that we are carrying out one of our 2-pronged strategy in poverty reduction - TVET for social equity.

As I mentioned during the last meeting of the poverty reduction, livelihood and employment cluster meeting, we have less than 580 days, until the end of the president’s term, (not counting the election period and the weekends and holidays) to ensure that we reach all the areas affected by the communist terrorist groups (CTGS).

The AGAK or “Amoma ug Giya alang sa Kahamugaway” center project which we are implementing with other partners in the cluster in Region XI, is a promising initiative that will benefit communities for a long time to come.  All we need is to replicate the centers in the areas where needed and appropriate.

With TESDA as the lead for PRLEC, let us make the most of the 580 days, reaching out to more CTG affected sites, and ensuring that we provide all our trainees and graduates, the support to make them productive and their communities peaceful and economically sustainable.

This is not to lessen our efforts in the other strategy – TVET for global competitiveness.  Let us improve on our efforts to address the needs of our skilled workforce and explore wider industry partnerships. 

If we do our jobs right in the next few months, we can leave a legacy that will outlive this administration or even ourselves.  

Last November 4, we officially launched the TESDA App after it had been made also available for apple devices.  If you have not downloaded it yet, I request everyone to download the app to be familiar with it and give feedback as to how we can make it better.  When you go back to your respective offices, encourage our employees to download the app and promote it in your areas of jurisdiction.

At the moment, Region II is introduced as the “region in focus” a special feature button found in the app.  For other regions to be featured, please direct your local information officers to respond and comply to the memorandum and communication that the Public Information Division has been sending. 

The App is designed to make it more convenient for the people to access our programs. We need to make the public more aware of the availability of the App.  

May I also inform you of the forthcoming inspections of the commission on audit. I advise everyone that we all cooperate with them.  Understand that the COA is there to alert us of any shortcomings or omissions that we may have done, and are not there to find fault.  They offer a valuable management tool to point out aspects of our processes that require attention.

In the last National Directorate Conference, I announced that as promised, I have delegated back the signing authority of disbursement vouchers to Regions 6, 8, 9 and NCR. This is for their compliance of immediately submitting their respective required scholarship documents.  I hope that the rest of the regional offices will follow. Our baseline of compliance rate is at 95%.

Finally, as I mentioned during the last flag ceremony, I intend to visit a Regional Office at least once every year, along with our provincial offices and training centers. This is still the best way I can monitor what is happening in our field offices and will better equip me to handle any issues that may crop up in the future.  

So you may expect my presence in your offices anytime soon. 

Again, thank you.  Together, let us strive further to make a difference.

Muli Magandang umaga, at mabuhay tayong lahat

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