GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 April) – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Southwestern Mindanao is set to launch next month a series of skills trainings for beneficiaries of the national government’s conditional cash transfer program in the region.
Zeus Ampuyas, TESDA Region 12 director, said Wednesday they have identified five municipalities in three provinces in the region as beneficiaries of the skills trainings, which is dubbed cash-for-training program or C4TP.
He said the program mainly aims to provide more livelihood opportunities and eventually improve the socio-economic status of the region’s “poorest of the poor” households that are supported by the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato as well as the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
TESDA earlier launched the program as part of the government’s convergence initiatives for beneficiaries of the 4Ps, which is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“We will start the training program as soon as we receive the endorsement of DSWD-12, identifying the priority beneficiaries who will be provided with the skills trainings,” Ampuyas said.
The official said the identified priority areas for the program are Maasim and Malapatan towns in Sarangani Province; Lake Sebu and Tboli in South Cotabato; and Senator Ninoy Aquino in Sultan Kudarat.
Ampuyas said the program primarily caters to “poor and marginal groups, those who cannot access, or are not accessible by formal training provisions.”
“They have low skills, limited management abilities, and have few economic options. They have no access to capital or most of them are unqualified for formal credit programs,” he pointed out.
The official said they are currently working on the setting of the schedules, training venues and requirements to facilitate the commencement of the program by May.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said the agency is currently validating the list of potential beneficiaries for the training program.
She said their field staff and the project development officers earlier conducted training needs assessment (TNA) activities among 4Ps beneficiaries in the C4TP’s priority areas.
The agency will submit the TNA results to TESDA-12 for evaluation and finalization of the training programs, she said.
Taha said they will later provide the potential beneficiaries with a list of technical trainings and short-term vocational programs that may be availed from TESDA.
“We discussed with TESDA-12 the possibility of creating a referral system involving local establishments to provide employment for Pantawid beneficiaries who will complete their trainings,” she said.
Taha said a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the initiative was initially discussed by DSWD-12’s community-driven enterprise development officer Ibrahim Sangcupan, external relations officer Lorraine Blanza and regional convergence coordinator Florentino Fiel with TESDA-12 officials.
She said they are hoping to finalize and sign the MOU on April 29.
The program’s priority areas are the localities earlier identified by the National Statistical Coordination Board’s small area estimates that host the “poorest of the poor” in Region 12.
4Ps serves 2,253 households in Maasim; 3,664 in Malapatan; 4,166 in Lake Sebu; 3,850 in T’boli; and, 2,757 in Senator Ninoy Aquino. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)