PEACETALK: I am glad that OPAPP and TESDA have joined hands for our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro

(Closing message of Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña on TESDA-OPAPP MOA signing on the implementation of the TESDA socio-economic programs for Normalization, held in Cotabato City on September 6, 2019)

I would like to thank the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for trusting the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), to help ease the transition of 7,588 combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who will be decommissioned tomorrow, in the presence of the President, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

With TESDA as a member of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism On Normalization (ICCMN) as provided for in Executive Order No. 79, I would say that this partnership or this agreement between and among our offices is very much expected.

Consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Annex on Normalization also under Executive Order 79, through TESDA’s trainings and scholarships, we hope to contribute to development of the Bangsamoro communities.

In the pursuit of just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro region, we acknowledge the need to ensure human security, and we at TESDA are very much willing to provide our services to equip our to-be-decommissioned combatants with appropriate skills training.

Through this, our to-be decommissioned combatants would have no reason to worry about their future and even their families. We will ensure that with the proper skills, they would be able to pursue sustainable livelihood.

As productive and empowered individuals, they will be instrumental in making their communities achieve their desired quality of life. Being meaningful members of their respective communities, their political participation within a peaceful society is also something that can be achieved.

One of the ways to achieve long-lasting peace and order is to ensure that we in the government reaches out to every corner of the country and deliver our services to help improve the lives of those who are in need. I would like to share to OPAPP, that TESDA’s guiding principle is by the same measure, our slogan declares this very clearly, “TESDA, abot lahat.”

I am glad that OPAPP and TESDA have joined hands for our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro.

I look forward to the formation of joint technical working groups in the national, regional and field offices of TESDA and OPAPP so that we can officially start with the policy reviews and developments in accordance to the needs of our beneficiaries.

The objectives enumerated in the Memorandum of Agreement carefully adhere to CAB and EO 79 such that the interventions both TESDA and OPAPP will be implementing are clear. It is well and good that both our agencies ensure, through this MOA, that all our intervention components are conflict-sensitive and peace promoting.

Rest assured that TESDA will design the technical education and skills training programs in support to the Normalization process on the Bangsamoro for the MILF-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) combatants, their dependents and communities. This will also include the six previously MILF-acknowledged camps, as stated in our agreement.

Together with the competent men and women of TESDA, we would like to assure OPAPP and the beneficiaries that we will deliver timely, appropriate and efficient skills training programs following the mechanisms of EO 79.

Once again, thank you for having TESDA to be part of this collaboration. Let us work together to promote long-lasting peace for the Bangsamoro people. Together, let us pursue our duty to capacitate the region to achieve sustainable livelihood and help them build peaceful and productive communities.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay ang Bangsamoro!

READ: TESDA allots PhP275-M to capacitate decommissioned MILF fighters