- Regional Director Gayona, Deputy-Directors General Bertiz and Urdaneta, and TESDA officials,
- Brother Tony of FFW and TESDA Board Member,
- NEDA Regional Director Bacal,
- DTI Regional Director Rascon,
- Mr Rodriguez of the Regional Technical Education and Skills Development Committee
- Our partners from employers organizations, chambers, and businesses;
- Brothers and sisters representing trade unions and workers organizations,
- Distinguished presenters and speakers,
- Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Thank you for being here with us today virtually. Let me also express my sincere appreciation to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for its continued partnership.
We are pleased to be part of this forum as we plan for the new normal – a better normal that leaves no one behind.
Since March, the ILO has been tracking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. ILO estimates revealed a massive drop in labour income and a fiscal stimulus gap that threatens to increase poverty and inequality.
The pandemic is also inflicting multiple shocks on young people. Not only is it destroying employment, but it is also disrupting education and training.
As with the rest of the world, COVID-19 caught the Philippines unprepared for the repercussions of the pandemic. The trend towards teleworking and new forms of working can also change the skills in demand.
In Region VI, various industry sectors had to quickly respond and adapt to the new normal to cushion its impact.
We need to do more to build back better, and to avoid long-lasting scars in many economies, lives and livelihoods.
These challenges are complex, and we must maintain and strengthen social dialogue among governments, workers and employers. This is a key component in the Decent Work Country Programme Philippines, which will serve as roadmap to build back better.
The ILO Skills for Prosperity in the Philippines Project (SfP-Philippines), funded by the United Kingdom government, works with key government agencies, employers, workers and other stakeholders to enhance skills development and the TVET system.
Through this support, the country will be able to offer increased opportunities to youth, women, indigenous people and other marginalized groups for greater employability and higher income.
The project aims to enhance national capacity to increase inclusive, mutually beneficial economic development resulting from greater, more equitable employability and productivity.
Enabling policies and practices will help achieve this and ensure equal access, and sustained quality, relevance and cost-effectiveness of TVET.
The Project as structured will address four pillars:
- Enhanced equity;
- Improved quality of skills development and TVET system;
- Enhanced relevance in addressing the needs of the industry in competent and skilled workforce, and
- Improved cost-effectiveness of TVET financing.
We truly appreciate our collaboration with TESDA Region VI as one of the areas under the project. This is an important and timely initiative to engage industry representatives from 20 priority sectors and sub-sectors of the Regional Technical Education and Skills Development Committee.
The ILO is glad to note that partners pursued this inclusive approach, not just in Region VI but also in other regions with ongoing and planned sectoral consultations.
Let me congratulate TESDA and partners from government agencies, workers and employers for this sector-based and inclusive approach in manpower planning. Rest assured that ILO commits to support this collaboration and to provide technical assistance, where needed.
We trust that the results of these focus group discussions have provided a well-informed, initial basis to identify and prioritize needs of the industry sectors with high relevance and significance to the COVID-19 recovery programme in Western Visayas.
We believe that this is key to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, we need to work together, redouble our efforts and act urgently to leave no one behind.