KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 9 Aug) – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) allotted P23 million for the rollout of the flagship “Tsuper Iskolar” program in Region 12.
TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña, who graced the formal launching of the program here on Friday, said they have enlisted at least 1,496 scholars for the initial batch of beneficiaries in the region.
He said they increased the number of scholarship slots to cover more beneficiaries from the region’s public transportation and marginalized sectors.
“[But] it is still open. We are targeting to accommodate more scholars in the coming months,” Lapeña said in an interview with reporters.
The “Tsuper Iskolar” program was mainly designed for transport workers who will be affected by the national government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization but Lapeña said they expanded it to the other sectors.
Lapeña specifically cited the tribal or indigenous peoples, former Overseas Filipino Workers and rebel returnees.
But he said majority of scholars are workers of transport companies or corporations and members of transport cooperatives as well as drivers and operators associations who were identified by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Office of Transportation Cooperative and the Land Transportation Office.
Under the program, 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.
The beneficiaries may choose from a range of skills training courses, depending on their preferred qualifications, that will be offered through TESDA’s partner technical-vocational institutions.
Lapeña said they could opt for trainings in construction-related work such as carpentry, masonry, heavy equipment operation, electrical installation and maintenance, among others.
Other recipients may choose to upgrade their driving skills or take courses in automotive repair and welding, he said.
“We also have courses in agriculture production for those who wants to venture into that field,” he said.
As part of the program, he said they will assist the graduates in landing jobs in various industries or getting livelihood opportunities.
For instance, he said they can match graduates of construction-related trainings to local companies, especially those engaged in government infrastructure projects.
“There is actually a big need for skilled workers in the construction industry and we can take advantage of that,” he said.
Lapeña said they will make sure that no one will be displaced once the PUV modernization program is fully implemented.
He said the DOTr, which allotted an initial P350 million for the implementation of the program nationwide, has committed to provide more funds “as needed.”
“The training program will essentially lead to greener pastures and better opportunities for our scholars, so no one will actually be displaced in the process,” he added. (MindaNews)