‘Tsuper Iskolar’ program to benefit transport workers, dependents in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 July) — At least 956 transport workers and their dependents in Region 12 are set to benefit from the “Tsuper Iskolar” program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Artemio del Rosario, TESDA-12 acting operations division head, said the preparations are underway for the full implementation starting August of the free skills training program in the region.

He said it will be formally launched in Koronadal City on Friday, Aug. 2, by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña.

Del Rosario said the DOTr has allotted an initial P22 million for the program’s rollout in the region’s four provinces and four cities this year.

He said the beneficiaries are mainly transport workers who will be affected by the national government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program as well as their family members or dependents up to the third degree of consanguinity or affinity.

“This is aimed to prepare our transport workers, including their families, for the coming changes in their sector and give them more opportunities for employment and livelihood,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Under the program, he said the scholars will be given free skills training, free skills assessment, free entrepreneurship training and training support fund of P350 per training day to cover their food and transportation allowance for a maximum of 35 days.

Del Rosario said the beneficiaries may choose from around 300 skills training courses, depending on their preferred qualifications.

These include courses related to agriculture, fishery and forestry; automotive; and, general infrastructure, he said.

“For instance, if a PUV driver wants to retire already and has a farm, then he or any of his dependents may choose agricultural crops production or other related courses,” he said.

The training will be provided by TESDA-accredited schools and training institutions that offer the programs or courses, he said.

Remegias Timonio, TESDA-Sarangani/General Santos director, said each training course, which are set for 15 days and above, will have a minimum of 15 trainees and a maximum of 25.

He said the skills training were identified based on the prevailing key employment generators in the region and aligned with major national government programs, among them the “Build, Build, Build” and food security.

After completing the program, he said the trainees will then be assessed for National Certification (NC) issued by TESDA.

Norayah Acas, TESDA-North Cotabato director, said the agency will then assist the graduates for possible employment and availment of livelihood assistance from various government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry.

“They may use their NCs in applying for jobs locally and abroad since it is recognized globally,” she said.

Reynato Padua, director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-12, said the 956 beneficiaries are just the initial batch of the program’s beneficiaries in Region 12.

He said the profiling is ongoing for other workers in the local transport sector that might be affected by the PUV modernization program.

LTFRB was tasked to identify beneficiaries from transport companies or corporations, the Office of Transportation Cooperative for members of transport cooperatives and the Land Transportation Office for drivers and operators associations, he said.

Nestor Lumawig, local transport leader and private sector representative of the Regional Development Council-12, said they welcome the program’s full implementation in the region.

“This will really help our sector in terms of social preparation for the PUV modernization,” he said.

Through the free training, he said transport workers can also upgrade their skills and qualifications, and eventually gain better opportunities even in their own workplaces. (MindaNews)