Hail the good man at TESDA
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - September 2, 2015 - 10:00am

Of the President’s men, Joel Villanueva, without a doubt, is a big asset in the administration’s efforts to develop the country’s human resources and give it a good image.

No less than P-Noy heaped words of praise on the director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The President’s words, spoken in Pilipino at a special function, I liberally translate thus: “You can trust no one but Joel for his sincerity in serving the Lord and the country. We should retain people like him who truly serve the country. He has proven this through the TESDA.”

The feeling of admiration is mutual. Joel said at Tuesday’s Bulong Pulungan, “The galaxy may melt, but I will never abandon the President.”

If Joel is a good man, it’s because of his spiritual conviction. He is the national chairman of the Kristyanong Kabataan Para sa Bayan Movement of the party-list Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) which he formally founded in 2001. He is the youngest son of Jesus Is Lord Founder Bro. Eddie Villanueva. CIBAC, said Joel, is not a member of the Liberal Party, but is part of the administration’s rainbow coalition.

Media persons present at the media forum could not help but be impressed by the accomplishments of TESDA since Joel was appointed by P-Noy director general in July 2010.

Joel admitted he is running for senator in next year’s elections, but not under the Liberal Party slate as he will not stand on the same stage as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who filed a graft complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the multi-billion pork barrel scam. He maintained the documents used against him bore forged signatures. Until now he has not been called for investigation.

The worry is, what will happen to TESDA when he is in the Senate? No worries, he told the audience. There are already competent people being eyed to run the agency.

TESDA was established through the enactment of Republic Act No. 7796, otherwise known as the Technical Education and Skills Development Act of 1994 which was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on Aug. 25, 1994. The law aims to encourage the full participation of and to mobilize the industry, labor, local government units and technical-vocational institutions in the skills development of the country’s human resources.

I’ve heard workers speak of TESDA proudly, and would you believe, lovingly. They are computer programmers, medical transcripters, carpenters, welders, caregivers, foundry melting/casting workers, heavy equipment operators, masons, plumbers, bread and pastry bakers, commercial cooks, food processors, automotive mechanics, masseurs – a host of workers trained for work in industries, machine shops, restaurants, and homes – here and abroad. From training caregivers and mechanics at the TESDA headquarters in Taguig, it has gone to schools and private institutions to teach unemployed persons skills, and has now gone to conducting training online.

At the Bulong Pulungan, Joel said that as of 2010, 7.2 million persons have taken TESDA courses. Undisputable figures released by the 2013 Impact Evaluation Survey showed that the agency achieved 65.3 percent employment rate, the highest in the history of the agency. In the IT-BPM industry, TESDA graduates have an employment rate of 70.9 percent while the electronics and semi-conductor program has recorded a 91.4 percent employment rate.

Of great significance is TESDA’s being awarded the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001:2008 certification through the TUV SUD PSB Philippines, Inc., making it the only education agency and among the government certifying agencies that was granted the prestigious status.
The ISO certification helped the authority further strengthen its commitment to make better its services and to help stem the problem of unemployment in the country. Because of the agency’s ISO certification, foreign companies welcome skilled workers it trains.

TESDA has now an online program called TOP, which makes tech-voc accessible anytime and anywhere. It continuously spreads across cyberspace. Since its formal launch in May 2012, TOP has registered close to 200,000 users.

TOP has 15 courses available online. Fourteen courses will be added every year until 2016. The courses will be aligned to priority courses, to aid the institutions while reaching out to more clients.

TESDA has entered into joint ventures with private organizations to ensure continuous funding for tech-voc. It has inked partnerships with Coca-Cola, Holcim, PLDT, SEIPI, ABS-CBN, and other business groups to expand the reach of tech-voc in the country. These organizations support students through scholarships. But students may apply for training for free on their own.

Through the TESDA-Coke S3TAR project, 200,000 “sari sari store and karinderya” owners nationwide will receive training and merchandise support until the year 2020.

The Cash for Work Training Program or C4TP, a joint initiative of the TESDA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), had a total of 61,114 graduates in the first year of their project in 2013. Of this, 39,518 or 65 percent are now salaried employees or are self-employed. C4TP targeted the disadvantaged youth by giving them free training and helping them find work.

The stigma attached to tech-voc and the Filipinos’ penchant for a college diploma used to cause a second-rate status to tech-voc. Joel said through tri-media exposure and massive information campaign, TESDA created a big change in the connotation of tech-voc. It has eradicated the “Tesda lang” mentality among many Filipinos, especially the youth.

Secretary Villanueva, 40, was the representative of the CIBAC Party-list during the 12th, 13th, and 14th Congresses. In his first term, he became the “Benjamin of the House” or the youngest member of the House of Representatives. In the 14th Congress, he became the first party list representative member and minority leader of the Commission on Appointments. He is also one of the principal sponsors of Republic Act 9485 or the Anti Red-Tape Law of 1997.

Joel finished commerce, major in economics, at the University of Santo Tomas in 1996. He was also that year’s leadership awardee, and later, a UST outstanding alumnus. From 1996 to 1998, he took up graduate studies in business administration at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In May 2013, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines awarded him Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa.

He is a certified “barista,” having completed an advanced food and beverage services course at TESDA. It is a 124-hour course designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, behavior and motivations in accordance with industry standards on providing specialist advice on food or wine and preparing and serving espresso coffee to guests.

Aside from his current work in the government, Sec. Joel hosts the TV show “Adyenda” and heads one of the biggest youth organizations in the country, the Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan Movement (KKB).

For his role in shaping the development agenda and making an observable development impact, he was awarded “40 Under 40 International Development Leaders” on Feb. 19, 2013 by the US-based Development Executive Group (DevEx).

For his role as one of today’s modern heroes and outstanding sons of the province of Bulacan who excelled in the field of public service, the provincial government of Bulacan awarded him “Gawad Dangal ng Lipi for Public Service” on Sept. 15, 2012.

I would like to see this honest, sincere, hard-working man in the Senate.

Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

ACIRC ANTI RED-TAPE LAW AT THE BULONG PULUNGAN BATTLE AGAINST CORRUPTION BAYAN MOVEMENT BENJAMIN OF THE HOUSE BULACAN DEVELOPMENT JOEL LIBERAL PARTY TESDA
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