THE Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) will allot P6.9 billion for the implementation of a skills training program for the indigenous peoples (IPs).

Tesda and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) earlier forged a partnership to implement this.

Tesda Director General, Secretary Guiling Mamondiong led the launching of the program for the Regional TESDA offices for Regions 1,2 and the Cordillera.

In a press briefing, Mamondiong said the training program for IPs is geared toward transforming them into competitive and productive individuals, especially in their respective ancestral domain after years of neglect by the government.

"President Duterte reiterated the need to give the IP's in the country the chance to be reintegrated through skills training available from TESDA by giving incentives such as free transportation and food allowances to the scholars particularly in the provinces as we would like these programs to be closer to the people," the TESDA chief explained.

Mamondiong and NCIP chairperson Leonor Oralde-Quintayo earlier signed the memorandum of agreement.

The project aims to provide National Certificates and Certificates of Competency to successful IP graduates after completing skills training.

Mamondiong has ordered all provincial and regional directors to coordinate with the IPs in their areas to facilitate the conduct of competency assessment for qualified beneficiaries, aside from the creation of two skills training ports in all the provinces with skills trainers to be employed under a job order status.

"Since education is the great equalizer, it is but fitting for us to give more opportunities to the IPs to avail of these programs for them to catch up and not be left behind again," Mamondiong added.