TESDA sets 14-Point Reform and Development Agenda

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General, Secretary Guiling “Gene” A. Mamondiong announced the agency’s programs that it expects will result in poverty reduction and decent employment opportunities.

In what he refers to as the “TESDA 14-point Reform and Development Agenda”, the following programs have been identified: 1. Barangay-based Scholarship Program; 2. On-line Scholarship Application; 3. Technical Audit of TVET Schools and Programs; 4. Skills Training for Drug Dependents; 5. Skills Training for Entrepreneurs and Family Enterprises; 6. Skills Training Program for Inmates and their Families; 7. Inclusive Training Program for Women; 8. Continuing Program for TESDA’s Alumni; 9. Global Access to/on-line database of TVET Graduates and Certified Workers; 10. Linkages with Agro-Industry; 11. Linkages with State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs); 12. Linkages with Foreign Skills Training Institutions; 13. Transparency; and, 14. Moral Renewal.

“We are confident that these programs will help empower our people to become more productive members of society. These will give them opportunities through skills training that can either help them start a career or a new business venture,” said the TESDA Chief.

Of the 14 programs, TESDA has already started the first phase of the Barangay-based Scholarship Program or “Barangay Kasanayan para sa Kabuhayan at Kapayapaan” (BKKK), having written to the heads of the more than 42,000 barangays in the country to gather data on the training programs that are most needed in their respected areas.

“BKKK aims to give equal opportunity to our countrymen who have little access to skills training. We intend to offer them programs that will directly respond to the skills requirements and employment opportunities in their localities,” added Sec. Mamondiong.

Meanwhile, Technical Audit of TVET Schools and Programs is already underway beginning with the National Capital Region to ensure continuing compliance of TVET providers, both public and private, to the standards set by the industry. The agency’s Chief said that particular attention will be given to the availability and adequacy of relevant training facilities, tools and equipment of all institutions offering tech-voc programs.

Special skills training programs will also be given priority for drug dependents, inmates and women to empower them and expand their opportunities for social and economic development.

For the next six years, the agency will also strengthen its efforts in building linkages with SUCs and LUCs as well as with foreign skills training institutions not only to widen training opportunities, particularly for the marginalized sectors, but also to ensure that the most modern technologies are accessible for our workforce so that the competencies they gain is kept at par with international standards.

Speeding up processes and assuring good governance is likewise a key for the success and meaningful impact of TESDA’s programs and services. To ensure this, the agency will soon establish its on-line scholarship application system and the on-line database of TVET graduates certified workers.

According to Mamondiong, the 14-point agenda serves as the framework for designing programs that would cater specifically to the needs of identified groups such as: urban & rural poor, farmers, fisher folks, indigenous people (IPs), women, rebel returnees/combatants, drug dependents, repatriated OFWs, out-of-school youths (OSYs), micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), family enterprises, and local government units (LGUs).

The agency also has new campaigns conceptualized in line with the administration’s urgent call for the prevention of illegal drug use, massive skills training, and the reduction of red tape and corruption. These include: introducing drug abuse prevention and control topics during orientations for TVET trainees; providing skills training and assessment to rehabilitated drug abuse victims and their immediate family members; streamlining of program registration, assessment and certification processes; incentives scheme to safeguard against anomalous and corrupt acitvities; and promoting efficiency, honesty and integrity.

TESDA had earlier unveiled its “Two-pronged Direction of TESDA in Poverty Reduction” which repositions technical vocational education and training (TVET) towards a two-pronged strategy: TVET for global competitiveness and TVET for social equity. Tech-voc training has contributed to both economic growth and social equity by providing productive and employable skills needed by industries, communities and individuals. These are all aimed at developing a productive, world-class workforce to achieve sustainable inclusive growth.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

Call for entries to the CCP OMNI outdoor light installation tilt

The Cultural Center of the Philippines and OMNI is proud to announce the opening of the OUTDOOR LIGHT INSTALLATION COMPETITION for 2016. The competition calls for all interested artists, designers, and architects to submit a proposal for an outdoor site-specific art installation at the CCP. The competition aims to find an attractive and inspiring lighting solution to illuminate the CCP Liwasang Asean Park for the 2016 holiday season. The installation must be innovative and unique, and must reflect the theme of “Paskong Pinoy”. The mechanics and criteria of the competition may be downloaded from the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph).

The competition is open to everyone over 18 years of age. Applications must be submitted via email by 5 pm on 20 September 2016. Applications must include a completely filled out application form and a PDF of the installation proposal. Proposals should include the following: a short (two-page maximum) bio and artist statement which includes artist contact information, the description of the work, including title, materials, dimensions, and installation and technical requirements, 1 to 3 illustrations or studies, and a cost estimate or budget for the entire project. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. No application fee is required.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following: originality and innovativeness, feasibility of the implementation, ties to the theme and to both the CCP and Omni’s institutional mandates, appropriateness to the surroundings and eco-friendliness.

For inquiries, please call CCP Visual Arts & Museum Division, Production & Exhibition Department at landlines (632) 8321125 local 1504/1505, or (632) 8323702, or contact Phillip at mobile (0906) 4803330, email ccp.omni.competition@gmail.com. For more information visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

Save the Children report: PH economy loses P328 billion a year due to malnutrition

A new report released by Save the Children reveals that the Philippine economy is losing at least P328 billion a year due to the impact of childhood stunting on workforce productivity and education. Stunting is the most prevalent form of undernutrition, and has permanent effects on a child’s growth and development.

The report entitled “Cost of Hunger: Philippines” suggests that, in 2013, childhood stunting cost the Philippines almost 3 percent of its GDP. The overall economic loss of PhP328 billion consists of:

1) PhP166.5 billion worth of lost income as a result of lower level of education achieved by the working population who suffered from childhood stunting;

2) PhP160 billion in lost productivity due to premature deaths among children who would have been members of our current working-age population;

3) PhP1.23 billion in additional education costs to cover grade repetitions linked to undernutrition.

Ned Olney, Save the Children Philippines Country Director, said: “This study proves that undernutrition has a cost to all of us. In just a year, Philippines has lost almost 3 percent of its GDP in terms of education and productivity costs due to stunting. If we add up health costs, the likely impact would be an additional 0.05 – 1.6 percent.”

The report shows that stunting is the best predictor of productivity and income, and that undernutrition is linked to lower human capital. Children who are stunted in the first two years of life are more likely to repeat grade levels, drop out of school, delay school entry and have lower income levels when they enter the workforce.

Olney added: “If stunting rates continue to rise, it would be difficult for families to break free from poverty. It is the poor and neglected sectors of society that carry the burden of stunting. Any investment in reducing childhood undernutrition will reduce suffering and poverty, and will ultimately stimulate economic growth for all Filipinos.”

The report found, however, that Philippines’ investment in nutrition programs is very low at only 0.52 percent of general government expenditures compared to the global average allocation of 2.1 percent. Citing the report findings, Save the Children highlighted the need to invest in nutrition programs during the child’s first 1000 days, from pregnancy up to the second birthday, which is considered a critical period of care to avert stunting.

Olney said: “Nutrition is the cornerstone of all development efforts. This new report tells us that for every US$1 spent on programs to avert stunting in children below 2 years old, the Philippines could save over 100 US dollars in health, education, and lost productivity costs.”

“It should outrage us that 95 children will die every day because of malnutrition.”

Save the Children is raising the alarm on the nutrition crisis, and is calling the national and local government, private sector and the donors to end the appalling state of malnutrition in the Philippines:

Support the “First 1000 Days Bill” to enhance the delivery of quality nutrition interventions in the first 1000 days of a child’s life to prevent stunting among children.

� Push and sustain equitable nutrition policies and programs and ensure budgetary allocations that address the immediate, underlying and basic causes of malnutrition.

� Ensure security of tenure and sustained training of the community front-liners e.g. such as barangay health workers and nutrition officers and scholars. Health and nutrition workers are highly politicized, lack incentives and support for trainings, have no security of tenure.

� National and local governments provide clear and separate budget for nutrition-specific interventions to avoid confusion between health and nutrition budgets.

� Intensify health and nutrition-related training, research and extension support activities to support the First 1000 Days Program through the Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement (BIDANI) Network Program of the Rural Poor and other relevant approaches, thereby strengthening delivery systems in partnership with the LGUs.

� Scale up cost-effective and affordable high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent undernutrition that cripples the country, such as promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, vitamin A and iron supplementation, treatment of acute malnutrition and maternal nutrition.

� Strengthen enforcement of the Milk Code (Executive Order Number 51), and the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act (Republic Act Number 10028) to protect, promote, and support optimal infant and young child feeding, both in private and public facilities and spaces.

� We call for the strict and sustained implementation of nutrition-specific interventions, including infant and young child feeding (IYCF), micronutrient supplementation and the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), which is now required to be implemented nationwide.

� Revise conditionalities under the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to include mandatory breastfeeding and education sessions on infant and young child feeding.

� Align health and nutrition programs to the priorities and directions of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition and the Strategy for Women, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition

� Increase the focus on water, hygiene and sanitation interventions for children by targeting child-related behaviors and risk factors, such as safe disposal of human waste, complementary food hygiene and handwashing and intensifying promotion of Philippine Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS) program to reinvigorate our country’s progress towards the national goals of eliminating open defecation.

Source: Philippine Information Agency