Press Release
December 13, 2018

Senate ratifies bicam report on Tulong-Trabaho bill

The Senate ratified on Monday, December 11, a bicameral conference committee report aimed at improving the tech-voc skills of Filipinos and narrow the unemployment gap in the country.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved the harmonized version on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1431 and House Bill 8139 which seeks to institute Philippine Labor Force Competencies Competitiveness Program and free access to Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said the measure seeks to increase the funding for technical and vocational trainings by providing for a Tulong-Trabaho Fund.

The fund would be administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Villanueva, in his speech sponsoring the bicameral report, said the Tulong Trabaho Fund will "provide qualified recipients with access to TVET training programs through the full payment of the selected programs' training fees."

The fund could also be utilized to provide additional financials to recipients such as transportation allowance and laboratory fees if needed, he said.

The senator cited American economist and politician Phil Gramm who said that "Government is not the generator of economic growth, working people are."

"That's why we want to give more support to our people - working and not working, by apportioning a "Tulong-Trabaho Fund" in the General Appropriations Act that will be managed by the TESDA Board," he said.

"Sa panukalang batas na ito, ang 'tulong' ay ginawa po nating obligasyon ng gobyerno at ang programa para tiyaking akma ang kakayahan ng ating mga kababayan ay ginawa nating bahagi ng responsibilidad ng mga employers o industry bodies," he said.

"Hence, the reconciled bill involves industry bodies in the determination of qualified recipients of the Tulong-Trabaho Fund," he added.

He said increasing the allocation of TESDA scholarship programs will lead to greater output and productivity of workers.

According to Villanueva, TESDA received P2.2 billion for its Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) last year. However, he said, the amount for TWSP funding remained the same for this year despite the increasing demand for tech-voc courses.

TESDA records showed enrollees of tech-voc courses increased sharply by 45 percent or 2.3 million in 2015 from 1.6 million enrollees in 2010.

Under the Tulong-Trabaho bill, the TESDA Board would approve the list of eligible applications based on the recommendation of the TESDA secretariat. The recipients of the Tulong-Trabaho fund would be evaluated periodically to ensure that at least 80 percent of the beneficiaries would be certified after the training program.

Failure to meet the passing rate would subject the recipient industry board to performance review and be audited by the TESDA board, according to the bill.

"The passage of this bill will make tech-voc accessible to all, boost our workers' confidence to face the world of work and ensure that the youth who are ready to work hard with the right skill sets to obtain in-demand jobs," Villanueva said.

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