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Salceda says TESDA elevation into department “crucial” for economic recovery

June 24th, 2021

Salceda says TESDA elevation into department “crucial” for economic recovery; House economic recovery chief says lifelong skills development will create new industries

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay 2nd district) who also serves as the Co-Chair of the House Economic Stimulus and Recovery Cluster renewed calls for the elevation of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) into its own department, once session resumes after the State of the Nation Address in July 26. Salceda is a principal author of the substitute bill on the matter in the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Salceda said that he is in talks with the Executive agencies to ensure that there is enough funding support for the new agency. The costs, Salceda says, are justified in view of the economic impact of a “well-stocked skills bank among our people.”

“We have enough people, but industries are looking for enough skills to locate in a country. As we begin to open the Philippines to foreign investments, we need our people to have the necessary skills to take advantage of new jobs and add value to these industries,” Salceda said.

“COVID-19 killed many industries for good. While we have to help most businesses, we can’t feed dead horses. We need to create new industries here. In my 200-plus consultations with industries during the discussions on the CREATE Act, businesses were clear that their biggest concern was talent,” Salceda added.

“My plan is to upgrade TESDA into a department and upskill some 50 million Filipinos, converge those skills into complete value-chains, and complement it with reinforcing industrial policy, such as CREATE and industrial planning,” Salceda said.

Albay model is working

Salceda says that the ability of TESDA to create new industries is demonstrated in Albay’s success in creating an agro-industrial and agro-tourism sector “from scratch.”

“By investing in agricultural and agro-tourism infrastructure and skills, we were able to create new agro-tourism and agro-industrial businesses such as farm schools, farm-to-table restaurants, new tourist definitions. We are also producing more food for our people, which keeps prices in check and allows our people to do more with their wages,” Salceda said.

“This is in large part due to TESDA investment in Albay. Agro-tourism is our comparative advantage because we have a beautiful province with plenty of rural spaces. The same model can be appropriated in other provinces with different advantages. And we can seriously do this with TESDA becoming a department,” Salceda said.

“TESDA is the singular most critical institution in the emerging new economy. So, we need TESDA to be among the strongest institutions of government, as well. If for any other reason, we should strengthen TESDA because it works,” Salceda added.

Salceda’s district is among the most aggressive implementers of TESDA projects, granting hundreds of slots for TESDA trainings under the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP).

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