TESDA to prioritize returning OFWs from Middle East

20 March 2011

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority(TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva has directed the agency's regional and provincial directors to prioritize returning Filipino workers from troubled Middle East countries in their free skills training.
“In view of the urgency to provide assistance to returning OFWs, specifically from Libya and other Middle East countries, all TESDA regional/provincial/district directors and administrators of TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs)are hereby instructed to prioritize these workers in the various training programs being offered in TTIs,” Villanueva said in his memorandum dated March 7.
He then ordered the agency's officials to coordinate with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to secure a list of returning OFWs interested in undergoing the training programs.
“A weekly report on the names of the assisted OFWs and the courses they were enrolled in should be submitted to the Office of the Deputy Director General for Field Operations, which in turn will submit a weekly consolidated report to the Office of the Director General,” said the memo.
Villanueva said his directive is in support of President Aquino’s policy to extend all possible assistance to returning Filipino workers.
“Our policy is in line with the Aquino administration’s goal to be more sensitive to the needs of returning OFWs displaced by the civil war in Libya and now in Bahrain with the state of emergency declared there,” he said.
“We want to convey to our modern-day heroes that the government is attuned to their every need and is doing everything to meet their needs,” added.
The TESDA chief stressed the importance of TESDA certificates that will be awarded to the OFWs after undergoing the training program and passing the competency assessment.
He said these will definitely be an advantage because employment agencies abroad honor these as additional credentials.
“We want to inform our returning OFWs that we are ready and we are prioritizing them in our training programs to upgrade their skills or provide them with new qualifications that would land them in jobs locally or abroad or venture into self-employment or entrepreneurship,” said Villanueva.
“This is TESDA’s contribution to aid our bagong bayanis. We are going to conduct free training for them which can help them in their search for jobs,” he said, adding that TESDA is more than willing to walk an extra mile for these OFWs despite the agency's budget constraints.
“Despite our limits, we very much want to help our OFWs,” he further stressed.
 Hundreds of returning OFWs are expected to double after Bahrain’s king declared a three-month state of emergency and ordered troops to battle demonstrators.
Aside from TESDA, agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration are also assisting returning overseas workers by providing them monetary and non-monetary assistance.

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