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P23-M allotted for ‘tsuper iskolars’ in Soccsksargen

August 10, 2019 - Saturday 2:08 AM by PNA

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KORONADAL CITY -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) allotted some PHP23 million for the “Tsuper Iskolar” program in Region 12 (Soccksargen).

TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña, who graced the formal launch of the program here Friday, said they have enlisted at least 1,496 scholars for the initial batch of beneficiaries in the region.

Lapeña said TESDA 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,” he said in an interview with reporters.

The “Tsuper Iskolar” program was 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 other sectors.

In particular, he said the program gives priority to members of the Indigenous Peoples, former overseas Filipino workers, and rebel returnees.

However, Lapeña said the 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 a support fund of PHP350 per training day to cover their food and transportation for a maximum of 35 days.

The beneficiaries may choose from a range of skills training courses, depending on their preferred qualifications, which will be offered through TESDA’s partner technical-vocational institutions.

Lapeña said they could opt for training in construction-related work, such as carpentry, masonry, heavy equipment operation, electrical installation and maintenance.

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 want to venture into that field,” he said.

As part of the program, he said they can match graduates of construction-related training 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 would make sure that no one would be displaced once the PUV modernization program is fully implemented.

He said the DOTr, which has allotted an initial PHP350 million for the implementation of the program nationwide, has committed to provide more funds “as needed.” (PNA)