Press Briefing

Economic Press Briefing with PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan and Executive Director Elmer K. Talavera of the National Institute of Technical Education and Skills Development of TESDA

Event Economic Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building, Malacañang

 

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Magandang umaga, MPC. Welcome sa ating weekly Economic Briefing ngayong araw na ito. To introduce our guest, we have Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan. Good morning, Asec.

 ASEC. ABLAN:  Thanks, Alvin. Good morning and welcome back to the Economic Press Briefing hosted by PCOO and the Economic Development Cluster of the Duterte Cabinet. Thank you for joining us today as we continue to discuss the various efforts of the Duterte administration to give a more comfortable life for all Filipinos.

Before we proceed with today’s press briefing, we’d like to laud the success of the economic team in the recently concluded ‘Sulong Pilipinas 2018’-Philippine Development Forums series. The economic managers in partnership with PCOO and other development partners consulted about 1,000 entrepreneurs from the small and medium enterprises sector or SMEs, and shared an economic situationer of the country.

In support of the Duterte administration’s inclusive growth agenda, the participants were then asked for feedbacks and recommendations on how the government and private sector can work together and bring better opportunities for Filipinos. The top ten actionable recommendations gathered from SME participants of the said fora, included increasing agricultural productivity and improving access to education especially for the poor.

The government is implementing multiple programs to improve access to education – be it basic, higher or technical skills training. As a matter of fact, 30% of revenues generated by TRAIN are earmarked for social services that will benefit the poorest of the poor. Complementary measures under TRAIN involved additional investments in education, health, social protection, employment and housing for poor and near-poor households.

The taxes we pay are also used to fund free skills training programs being implemented by the Technical Skills and Development Authority or TESDA. To enlighten us more on this subject, please welcome Executive Director Elmer K. Talavera of the National Institute of Technical Education and Skills Development of TESDA. Welcome ED Talavera…

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA:  Thank you, Asec. Good morning everyone. Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat. It is my honor to represent TESDA in this press conference, and to tell you TESDA is now 24 years old. We have been created—operating 4 years ago, but I have been with the agency for the last 35 years when most of you were still a dream. Nag-umpisa po ako noong 1982 sa National Manpower and Youth Council at hanggang ngayon ay nandito pa.

Now, alam nating lahat that our new Secretary, Sec. Lapeña has just assumed office just a month ago; and ang kaniyang unang sinabi, kung ano ang ginagawa ng inyong ahensiya na maganda ay ating ipagpapatuloy at palalawigin pa. At isa na po dito ang ating mga disadvantaged sector, if I may borrow his exact words: ang Technical Education and Skills Development, just like any public good ay dapat ihain at ibigay/ipaabot hindi doon sa may kakayanan kundi po doon sa mga nangangailangan.

In his words, “Those in the lower strata of society,” kaya po kabilang dito ang kaniyang emphasis in TESDA’s direction: working with the local government units upang marating ang mga komunidad na ito kabilang na ang mga indigenous communities, cultural communities, our brothers – rebel returnees among others – kaya pinapalawig niya at palalakasin pa ang aming engagement not only with the industries at the national level but also industries, corporations, enterprises on the ground.

Ang TESDA po ay may tatlong core businesses: una, technical education; ikalawa, skills development; at ikatlo, assessment and certification program. Kagaya po ng Commission on Higher Education – iyong kanilang policies, standards, guidelines – ang TESDA po ay nagtatakda ng training regulations; ito po ang mga pamantayan defining the competencies per qualification. At sa ngayon po, nag-umpisa kami noong year 2000; ngayon po after 18 years, we have now 272 courses or training regulations. At I’m glad to report na mahigit-kumulang na kuwarenta porsiyento dito ay nasa larangan ng construction, supportive or related ang courses in construction.

Now from these training regulations, ang ating mga providers o tech-voc institutions ay nagrerehistro ng kanilang mga courses sa TESDA – ito iyong aming authority role that no provider of any tech-voc course will be allowed to deliver courses prior to registering their programs to us. Now sa buong bansa ho ngayon, may mahigit-kumulang apat na libo na public and private tech-voc institutions. Ang publikong sektor dito ay wala pa hong limandaan, so more or less at least 3,500 of tech-voc providers are in the private hands at dapat ho ito’y alalayan at to ensure that they are delivering quality programs.

Now, ang atin pong technical educations operate not only in the schools but also in the enterprises – ito po ang tawag natin dito ay enterprise-based training programs wherein the training and in-skilling happen and are obtaining in the enterprises communities – and even farms. At ang ikatlo na isa sa mga strength din po ng skills development are, delivery of training programs and in-skilling at the community level – dito po ang katulong natin ay mga local government units, non-government organizations, civil organizations and the like.

Now through the years nakita po ng ating datos that of the universe, barely 5% of the training or outputs ng technical education ay nasa enterprise-based training program. At dito po, with the cooperation na obtaining now, that TESDA is an attached agency with DTI on programs and policies, this is an opportunity for the technical education to be more relevant and aligned with the requirements of industry.

Now just early this year, may bagong batas that will affect not only education sector but also labor and employment – this is the Philippine Qualification Framework Law. Ito po ay may walong bahagdan, at ang unang limang bahagdan – levels 1 to 5 – ay technical education. Ang graduate po ng kolehiyo or baccalaureate degree ay nasa level 6, ang masteral degree – among us, ay nasa level 7 at iyong mga doctoral degree ay nasa level 8.

Now, atin pong pinapalakas itong framework na ito dahil this is part of the ASEAN integration agreement wherein movement of professionals and skilled workers should be referenced against each other’s qualification framework – at ito po ang kina-career ng ating mga opisyales from PRC, Department of Labor, CHEd, DepEd and the persons from our business sector.

Now, one of the pillars of the authority role is the assessment and certification program. Ito po ang sistema wherein a worker or a learner subjects himself to an assessment so that the system will prove that if he can perform the job, then you are given a recognition by government. This works also kahit po hindi pumasok o nag-aral, basta one worker, one Filipino would say: “I think I can do that.” You can just subject yourself for assessment and the system will provide you a national certificate – ito po iyong common place na tinatawag NC, dapat may NC ka para maka-link sa trabaho whether domestic or overseas.

Now, let me tell you that this assessment and certification program, hindi lang po natin ginagawa ito dito sa Pilipinas, at ito po ay inihain natin at iniabot even to our brothers, the Overseas Filipino Workers wherein our experts and competency assessors dinadala natin sa Riyadh, sa Kuwait, Hong Kong, Singapore… para iyong ating mga kababayan – Overseas Filipino Workers – their skills and competencies na na-acquire on the job ay nase-certify ng ating gobyerno. At ngayon po, dumadami nang dumadami iyong ating nabibigyan ng ganitong serbisyo – hindi na nila kailangan umuwi pa para ma-assess, right there we bring the services right there at their own workplace in coordination with our POLO or Philippine Overseas Labor Offices.

Now one of the biggest ticket items ng technical education, iyong sinabi nga ni Asec., ay provision of scholarships. We all know that late last year, there was a universal access to quality tertiary education; at ang TESDA po ay kasama dito sa programang ito ng gobyerno wherein ang technical-vocational education and training is now rendered free sa lahat ng public tech-voc institutions. Kung ang isang state university and college may programa na tech-voc na nakarehistro sa TESDA, iyong programa pong iyon ay sagot na ng gobyerno.

Now—so, we have now 317 state-run tech-voc institutions under these programs, at itong 317 na ito po ay naimapa na natin iyong kanilang mga courses to be offered that will be covered by the 6.9 billion peso scholarship package; na ito po ang 6.9 billion pesos na ito ay inumpisahan nating i-deliver noong nakaraang buwan lamang, October, at ito, would last for a period of 12 months. So this will cross until 2019, September; na ang amin pong estimate ay mga mahigit-kumulang 170,000 Filipino learners that will be benefitting tech-voc education and training programs.

Now, this is over and above the existing scholarship programs that we have – the first and foremost is the training for work scholarship program na kung saan, ito po ay nakatuon sa agad na trabaho ayon sa key employment generating sectors identified in coordination among TESDA, Department of Labor and our labor market information systems. And this program has been ongoing for the past 4 or 5 years.

So—mayroon din po tayong scholarship program na nakatuon sa employment enterprise development sa community level – ito po iyong STEP na tinatawag, wherein ang mga kabataan ay nabibigyan ng pagkakataong magsanay sa mga modules leading to immediate employment, ang tawag namin dito ay units of competency leading to immediate employment whether wage or entrepreneurship. Ang kagandahan po nito, part noong package ay ang mga bata, kapag nagtapos ay binibigyan ng toolkits, starter toolkits wherein they can make use of as an initial investment to startup a business of their own; so thus, creating a more entrepreneurs from the Filipinos as an option to or other than wage employment.

So, dito po nakatuon ang direksiyon nung ating bagong Director-General ng TESDA si Sec. Isidro Lapeña, ang sabi niya kailangan nating labanan ang kahirapan. One of the armaments in fighting poverty is education and trai—enable them, capacitate the young Filipinos so that poverty can be addressed. Not solely by TESDA, but in cooperation with the economic development framework at the national and at the local level. Iyon po ang kanyang mensahe, palawigin ang technical education hindi lamang sa kalunsuran, kung hindi sa kanayunan.

With that in a nutshell puts the technical education now continuing in its small successes towards relevance at the community level. Now, last point that I want to share with you modesty aside.

We take very seriously that your Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has maintained its ISO 9001, 2015 certification for a couple of years now. A testament of us being serious in delivering quality product and services and to cap it all, sinuwerte po ang inyong TESDA na makamit ang isang award, the Philippine Quality Awards, one of the very few  institutions – public, private – na nabigyan ng pagkilala that we are very serious in delivering  quality assured technical education  and skills development for the youth, not so young, the millennials and just like us, may mga linya na. So, your technical education is for everyone and for everyone.

So, I think, this initial intro can be a fitting introduction of what TESDA is and what TESDA will be in the very near future. Ano nga pala po si Elmer Talavera, 35 years na sa TESDA, andito pa rin. And this is my first on this presscon. We are used to doing our magic on the ground, but… ang hirap pala to start with.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Maraming salamat, Director Talavera. We would like to acknowledge the presence of Undersecretary Rocky Ignacio and Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy. Good morning ma’am.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Good morning, sir.  Sir, nabanggit ninyo libre naman iyong tech-voc education. Ano pa po iyong magiging papel ng local officials sa TESDA kung libre naman po itong maipagkakaloob ng pamahalaan?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  Under the Universal Access for Quality Tertiary Education, may free TVET (Technical-Vocational Education and Training) component. Ito po ang saklaw nito ay doon sa delivery sa publikong sector, sa state run tech-voc institutions. At kabilang po dito iyong mga training centers operated, owned, manned and funded by the local government units. And I’m glad to report na may karamihan na rin po na ang mga local government units embracing the Local Government Autonomy Act na sila… they are self-determining the future of the their youth. At iyon po kinilala ng batas that iyong provision in the local government unit training centers be rendered free, kabilang din po dito iyong local universities and colleges na may tech-voc programs registered with TESDA sakop din po ng batas. At this is bringing the public good right there at the community level; malaki po ang role ng local government units.

Ikatlo at sana hindi at sana hindi makaligtaan po ng ating mga local government officials. Dapat ipaalam sa kanilang constituents ang public good na ito, dapat makarating at kung saan tech-voc providers puwedeng hikayatin ang  kabataan at ang mga magulang na nandito ang quality provision. Doon po siguro kailangang pagtulungan sa information at kamulatan that tech-voc education and training is a viable career option. Iyon po ang malaking role ng ating local government unit among others.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, meron kayong katiyakan na hindi magagamit ito ng mga kandidato lalo na ngayong magi-election, iyong TESDA, iyong ino-offer ninyong libre naman eh. Hindi  ho ba ito magagamit sa pamumulitika ng mga local  officials?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  Ako po ay naniniwala na ang ating kabataan at ang mga magulang is already discerning on acquiring public good from the government and not on a particular person. Tatapatin ko kayo: wala akong isasagot na may kasiguruhan. We cannot address that, but the point is, let the social media, our brothers in the media to disseminate this public good, the availability of this public good reaching those who needed them most.  Iyon po ang aking take diyan.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Ano iyong papel ng TESDA doon sa programa ng gobyerno sa rebel returnees?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  Ito po ang isang segment ng ating mga marginalized sector or the persons in need na tinuunan, hindi lang po ngayong kung hindi even iyong nakaraang mga administrasyon.

Ang amin pong nakaraang Secretary Gene Mamondiong ay nanguna at pinalawig ang programa, attacking or addressing the plight of the rebel returnees at if I may recall, since 2016 po ay mahigit 20,000 ang mga rebel returnees na naabutan at nagkamit ng training programs with TESDA in cooperation with our brothers on the ground, rebel returnees, person with disabilities, relatives of persons killed in action, wounded in action.

Kaya ang daming mga specialized groups na dapat nating i-address. Kaya we need more resources, not only financial, but also collaborative engagements on the ground also at the national level.

 ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  May nabulgar po kasing anomalya sa OPAPP, Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process. Sinabi n’yo naman na kasama iyong TESDA sa mga programa ng OPAPP. Napasama po kaya sa corruption iyong TESDA o meron ba kayang pondo ng TESDA na napunta sa corruption sa OPAPP?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  None that I know of, Ma’am.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, as of September 2018, sir your total number of graduates, 1.1 million. Right? Sir, may data po ba tayo nung 2017 so that we can compare how many percent iyong tumaas or ibinaba ng graduates ng TESDA?

 EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  I don’t know if I have, but we have an annual tracking of our graduates. Sa ngayon po, our outputs sa institution-based, center-based, enterprise-based ay lumalaro sa mahigit kumulang 2 milyon na kada taon. Ang kapwa malakas dito iyong sa schools at saka lalung-lalo na doon sa komunidad. If I will have the data right now—I will provide later on. But the numbers are encouragingly increasing at ibig sabihin, testament ito na kailangan mas marami pa tayong matulungan. We are barely scratching the ground.

Tiningnan po nung aming—the strategies that our new Secretary Lapeña is… ang una niyang hinanap sa amin, what is your universe, what is your universe? Dalawang milyon taun-taon, what is your universe.

Noong makita po namin ang universe natin po ay nasa 40 milyon. So, ang sabi niya, ay parang ano lang iyan, patak ng ulan, so tingnan natin ang ating reach. So iyon po the challenge is very huge, two million as against 40 million universe is bare scratching the ground. We will provide you the data po.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, out of 1.1 million, how many of them are employed?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  Ito po, TESDA po has been very judicious in tracking, ang sabi nga natin, the product of the pudding is in the eating. The task of technical education is to link our youth to jobs and not unless we put them to jobs, we falter in our mission. Since, several—more than a decade ago we have been tracking and I’m glad to report po, every year ginagawa po namin iyon, impact evaluation study. Right now, the latest figures are 72 of every 100 graduates that are in the labor force land jobs within 6 months to a year. At ito po ay iyong aming history ay noong unang panahon nasa 40% lamang po ito. At sa space of one year, 72 out of every 100 na nasa labor force na graduate ng TESDA ay may trabaho. And this is one of the testaments kung bakit tama si Sec. Lapeña. One of the tools in addressing poverty is technical education.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, 72 out of 100, that’s as of 2018?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:   Yes, iyon po iyong latest. From the previous years, 65, 68, now its 71 point something out of every 100. So, if the sampling is correct, which is guided by the national… our PSA, the figures are encouraging and we hope to maintain if not continuously increase that figure.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, saan po natin ma-attribute iyong increase na 72?

EXEC. DIRECTOR TALAVERA:  Among others po, ito iyong pakikipag-ugnayan ng ating mga local government units.

Kasi po on the ground, we have this arrangement with the local government units Community Training and Employment Coordinators, sila po ay nakiki-work in tandem with our Public Employment and Service Offices. Nagtutulungan sila in comparing the labor market at kung saan may bakanteng trabaho. Also, malaking tulong din po iyong regular na pag-conduct ng job fairs. Na ito po ay inumpisahan ng Department of Labor na ang dami na pong tumutulong ngayon, private companies, NGOs doing job fairs at the community level.

At nung towards the end of last year, we have launched the World Café of Opportunities, ito po ay convergence ng gobyerno at pribadong sector upang regular, hindi lang taunan na i-conduct itong job linkiging – linking our graduates and learners to actual job opportunities on the ground. Kasi po kanina pinag-uusapan namin ni Asec, papano iyong halos 8 milyon na mga Pilipino nasa overseas – Overseas Filipino Workers.

But what need ay suportahan ng skills development – technical education ang ating domestic employment – so, dito po natin iginigiya iyong ating programa.

Q: Sir, do we have target for the 2019 kung—

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: 2019?

Q: Yes.

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: As to the employment rate?

Q: Yes.

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: I’m looking just on the linear graft and siguro po puwede na akong mag-tumbling kapag umabot sa 75. But I will consult my colleagues sa ano, anong kanilang estimate. But our target, we have overshot our target, our target before was just hits 65-67 percent – we landed close to 72 percent.

Q: So what will you do sir to achieve that target 75, from 72?

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: As I’ve said, conduct the regular and honest to goodness job bridging, linkaging with the business, both large and small. Palakasin pa po ang ating linkages with the public employment service offices. In fact, by next week we will be in Davao City wherein iyong ating community training and employment coordinators ay ginagawan po natin ng competency standards para ma-standardize na: ano ang kaalaman, kasanayan ng mga coordinators na ito upang tama ang lapad ng koordinasyon ng empleyo at kasanayan. Iyon po ang aming inisyal na ginagawang ito at sana ay with the support of media in the local government units ay lumawig ang kagat ng technical education sa komunidad.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi sir. Sir, doon naman po sa aspeto noong drug dependents, ano po iyong programa ng TESDA para makapagbagong-buhay iyong mga dating drug dependents?

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: Ito po ay kuwento, Undersecretary Mamondiong, noong nakaraang two anniversaries ago. All TESDA personnel pinangunahan ni Sec. Mamondiong, came up with a covenant or declaration that TESDA from the Central up to the ground – drug free and corruption free. Pinangunahan iyan ng pa-drug test at kami sumunod mula Central hanggang sa ilalim bilang patunay na seryoso ang TESDA fight against drug addiction. Dineclare din po namin na iyong aming mga offices and even our tech voc institutions, lalo na iyong pag-aari ng TESDA ay drug free at masusi po naming binabantayan iyan sa career guidance among others iyong droga.

Drug dependents, marami tayong mga natokhang, na-identify, sumuko at ang—sa ngayon ho mahigit kumulang na dalawampung libo din since na umupo si Sec. Mamondiong, pinagpapatuloy po ngayon na even doon po na nasa rehab pa lamang ay tinutulungan na natin, binibigyan ng kasanayan and this is in coordination with our PNP and the Department of Health, kasi hindi po lahat dependent ay puwede ng kaagad ay bigyan ng kasanayan kung hindi pa sila handa. So kasama po iyan sa bucket list ng technical education, ihatid ang kasanayan, kasama na po sila. Hindi lamang iyong drug dependents, even iyong mga pamilya ng mga nakakulong ay hinahatidan din po natin ng programa sa skills development.

ROSE/HATAW: Sir, may bukod kayong pondo para sa ganoon, sa anti-drug campaign katulad niyang pagbibigay ng scholarship sa mga drug dependent?

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: Opo, ang atin pong TESDA, ang lahat ng Regional Directors ay categorized as area managers. Dapat nasa scoping ng area manager itong mga segments na ito at iyong ating mga available scholarship programs ay nilalagay kung mayroong pangangailangan sa iyong area, kasama iyon ho sa aming dapat abutin, iyon po.

ROSE/HATAW: Thank you.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, do you have records kung how many senior high school students ang nag-graduate and took vocational courses sa TESDA and how are they coping? Are they employed na or..?

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: Napakagandang tanong, as you will know po ay noong—the first graduates of the kinder to 12, ay nangyari lamang noong grumaduate sila ngayong nakaraang Hunyo. Although nagkaroon po ang CHED ng pronouncement that kesehodang saang stream ka or track, open iyan na to enroll in baccalaureate degrees. So we still have to do a tracking mechanism kung—para masagot ko po iyong inyong—very interesting question, we would also like to find out sino iyong kinder to 12 na nasa tech-voc track na nagpatuloy sa tech-voc or went straight to—went to higher education or baccalaureate degrees. Kasi po dati ay tracking, we were hoping na iyang nasa tech-voc track ng senior high will proceed to—or would proceed to technical education but the system opened it up to even other disciplines, aside from technical education. So naging accessible na all tracks to higher education but we will be keeping tab on such particular concern.

Q: Hi sir. Sir, just a clarification doon sa 20,000 number na ibinigay ninyo regarding a rebel returnees. Anong period po iyon, and is the 20,000 total po noong rebel returnees, PWDs who are covered by that..?

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: Ito po ay datos na nag-umpisa noong 2016 hanggang sa 2018, nag-number na po sila ng only four rebel returnees. Opo, ganoong din po sa ating mga kapatid na—sa indigenous communities, more or less ganoong din po ang numero mula 2016 hanggang sa ngayon. But with, Sec. Lapeña, they have—we are anticipating that more attention will be given in this particular segment.

Q: And sir, have there been perhaps issues of this—I mean these rebel returnees finding employment because of their background?

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: We haven’t yet included the segmentation in our IES but ang daming mga accounts, more than just employment. I had a chance to talk with—this is an IP – noong una ko ho siyang makita doon sa ating KorPhil Training Center in Davao City, nakaupo sa tabi ng basurahan, nakaupo siya then I talk to him in the dialect, why he is feeling so lonely and sad. Ang sabi niya, siya po ay nahihiya but three or four months later, I look for him again.

Noong makita ko siya nagpapaandar na po ng tractor and very proud of himself. Technical education is not just after all about job, it is the human person. Na ano natin, from the doldrums of society hiyang-hiya, nakatungo ay noong siya na po ang nagtuturo sa mga kaniyang classmate na taga bayan and very proud that he has now—he knows how to drive the tractor and he is now being listened to – iyong pagbabago ng kaniyang pagkatao.

Iyon pong mga ating mga kapatid sa indigenous community, bigyan lang ng pagkakataon na sila ay maging bida to gain self-confidence and iyan po parang engine, once they get going, things get done. And we will keep tab on these successes on employment sa rebel returnees. We know that ang ating pong mga industriya ay hindi pa masyadong bukas, kung bibigyan ang—itutuon natin sa wage employment. Kaya nga po ang inihahatid natin sa kanila ay leading to self-employment or entrepreneurship – gaining gainful activities right after finishing their qualification. More entrepreneurial rather than forcing them to being wage employee, kasi hindi natin maalis po, mayroon pa rin pong stigma, it’s a hiring practices. But if they can start on their own, set up their own enterprise, there’s future in and things going on the ground.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, last question. Sir, tingin ninyo ba may dapat palakasin ang TESDA, iyong kaniyang pakikipagtulungan sa mga Lumad schools para mawala iyong perception na ginagamit itong recruitment hub ng New People’s Army?

 EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: Naku, alam kong iyan ay exciting dahil di po ako ay sampung taon na napasawsaw sa Mindanao. Walong taon sa Davao region at tatlong taon sa Cotabato region at kami po ay nagki-crisscross doon sa ibang mga rehiyon kung saan nakikipag-ugnayan kami sa ating mga cultural communities. The cultural communities’ setting up their own centers of learning, need a lot of help. They need a lot of convergence, na-witness ko rin po ang pagtutulungan ng Red Cross, ng ating military. Some 10 years ago nagkaroon ng ano doon sa CARAGA area, nagkaroon po iyong—the team was being led by Secretary Duque of the Department of Health – noong kami po ay nag-convoy kasama ang mga military at pulis akala namin po ay we will be welcomed by open arms. Noong palapit na po kami, nagtakbuhan palayo ang ating mga kababayan, karamihan ay kababaihan sa pag-aakala na iyong convoy ay taga kabila.

Noong sila po ay nahimasmasan na, nagsilapitan, ang amin pong nakita ay puro kababaihan. We asked, ‘Nasaan po—asa ang inyong mga bana?’(nasaan ang inyong mga asawa?) Sila po ay nasa bukid, dahil sila po ay sinosona at ang unang tina-target ay kalalakihan at kabataan. Dapat ho talaga ay pagtulungan ang paghatid ng programa sa ground, kung ang ating peace and order ay hindi magagampanan ay patuloy, that the other side will be etching and inching into our youth.

Kaya nagko-converge ang thoughts ni Sec. Mamondiong at nito ni Lapeña: Ang ating indigenous communities ay dapat tulungan dahil iyan ang sinasabing possible na fishing grounds na – again, challenging peace and order and even our future.

Sana nga po ay ma-isolate ang lahat na ito, hindi lamang tayo, the Department of Science and Technology, kailangan magtulungan sa ground upang ang ating public good ay mai-deliver without casting us persons to the other agenda. Iyon po, even iyong taga kabila kapag nakausap din naman natin kapag itinuon natin sa bituka ng kanilang mga anak ay nahihimasmasan din.

We have worked right at the center of the communities of the rebels, hindi pa returnee – rebels. Kapag ang pinag-usapan na po ay ang kalam ng sikmura nagkakaintindihan, magkakaintindihan. Dapat lang continuous na may contact at iyong paniniwala na ang kanilang kinabukasan ay nakasalalay sa desisyon. Huwag lang tayo magbibigay ng palugit, alam natin on how things work and how things don’t.

But if we remain grounded and encourage sila to come and integrate with the program that necessarily with us, baka ho lalawig ang programa ng gobyerno. Hindi puwedeng ito ay puwersahan, hindi puwedeng puwersahan. Sabi nga even industries, public or private and the communities don’t just engage – create relationships, create relationships. Hindi puwedeng one program, parang task force, one and after than babush, hindi puwede, relationship and this will come from both ends.

ROSE/HATAW: Thank you sir.

EXEC. DIR. TALAVERA: Maraming salamat.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Thank you so much, Executive Director Elmer Talavera and MPC, maraming salamat. Back to our main studio sa PTV and Radyo Pilipinas.

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Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)

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