A TOTAL of 430 former rebel returnees from the three provinces of Northern Mindanao have graduated from skills training, the regional director of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) said.
According to Tarhata Mapandi, Tesda-Northern Mindanao director, 90 percent of the 430 former rebel returnees from Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and Misamis Occidental are Indigenous People or IPs.
Some 38 of the aforementioned graduates were also conditioned to become community trainers.
“Gusto natin mag produce ng community trainer. So nagkaron tayo ng trainers for training. Ngayon, they are ready to train (we want to produce a community trainer. So we have trainers for trainin. Now, they are ready to train new students),” Mapandi said.
Tesda was also able to provide skills training to IPs living in Barangay Lantod, Talakag in Bukidnon, according to the Tesda-Northern Mindanao official.
“We’re able to penetrate and able to deliver trainings and expose yung IPs natin (our Indigenous Peoples), this is a mix of Higaonon and Maranaos, living peacefully in Barangay Lantod, Talakag, Bukidnon. Tayo pa lang ang ahensya na nakapunta doon (we are the only agency that were able to go there),” he said.
The rebel returnees and IPs are beneficiaries of Tesda’s Skills Training for Special Clients program. Other beneficiaries include the drug surrenderers, calamity-affected communities, inmates and dependents, persons with disability, and family enterprises.
Among the courses offered are agriculture, agri-crop production, small engine mechanic, baking, carpentry, food processing, fabrication, welding, machinery, and other courses related to construction.
The trainings are conducted at the Tesda training centers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
During his visit in several offices in Northern Mindanao, Tesda director general Isidro Lapeña, who was present during the press conference, said he noticed the lack of personnel and vehicles and repairs, maintenance and upgrading of training facilities.
“Ang sinabi ko sa kanila (what I have said), on the personnel, we have requested for additional number of personnel, mga (about) 1,280,” Lapeña said.
However, he added, that they were told by the Department of Budget and Management to fill the 531 vacant front area positions first before they can consider the 1,280 requested additional personnel.
“This trigger the promotion, hiring ng mga (of the) personnel para (so that it can be) ma fill up yung mga (other) vacant front area positions and it’s helping,” Lapeña said.
The Tesda secretary said they are also looking into solving the problem in the lack of vehicles and upgrading of training centers.