TESDA supports resolution of local communist conflict

February 22, 2019

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General, Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, pledged the full support and cooperation of the agency in preventing and addressing local communist armed conflict in the country, in accordance with Executive Order No. 70 recently issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The EO signed in December 4, 2018 aims to create a national peace framework and institutionalize the “whole-of-nation approach” to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace, carefully getting to the root causes of conflicts in the country.

The Secretary stated TESDA’s support for the order during the National Taskforce to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELAC) meeting he hosted held at the Tandang Sora Hall of the TESDA Women’s Center in Taguig City.

On the agenda of the NTF-ELAC meeting were Basic Services/Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation/Infrastructure and Resource Management, all of which are related to the government’s actions towards solving local communist conflicts.

Also present during the meeting were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Alabat, Quezon Mayor Fernando L. Mesa, DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje, TESDA Deputy Director General Gaspar Gayona and officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, DILG, DENR, DepED, NICA, among others.

Lapeña highlighted the importance of TESDA in addressing poverty, peace and order concerns in the country by explaining how the Agency is a gateway of skills training, employment, and livelihood opportunities.

“TESDA’s role for these efforts is crucial as we are the gateway of training, employment and the livelihood.  Hindi tayo pwedeng makapagbigay ng employment at livelihood kung hindi sila mag-train for this purpose, that’s why TESDA is here,” said Lapeña.

He also noted that the most important aspect in the “whole-of-nation approach” is to gain the hearts, minds and trust of the people by giving genuine basic services such as jobs, social development packages, education, skills, housing, and healthcare to everyone, but most especially to the poor.

“We, in the government, let us deliver these basic services to them, sa ating mga kababayan who have less in life,” said Lapeña.

According to Lapeña, TESDA had already started implementing several interventions by launching skills training for the poor and other ‘special clients’ like rebel returnees, indigenous peoples (IPs), drug surrenderers, prisoners and their families, and others.

By the end of 2018, TESDA had already trained about 972 rebel returnees, 26,266 IPs, and 20,716 drug surrenderers.  Some 3,000 of these have already landed jobs or started livelihood activities.

“Let us work together and collaborate to win the hearts and minds of the people,” said Lapeña as he ended his speech.

Esperon, on the other hand, reported the projects and activities currently being done by the government towards solving these armed conflicts.

He mentioned that 35% of the population, including the IPs, became part of the New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (NPA-NDF) and are rebelling against the Duterte administration.

Esperon also added that most of these rebels come from labor groups and universities.

Alabat Mayor Fernando Mesa also said in the meeting the he intends to implement these activities and projects against armed conflict in his municipality to make it “communist free.