MANILA - Around 73,000 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their dependents have enrolled in skills training programs under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency's chief Isidro Lapeña said Tuesday.
In a Palace briefing, Lapeña said TESDA was offering skills training to repatriated and former OFWs so they could improve their skills or acquire new ones to get new jobs.
Of the figure, 71,251 OFWs and their dependents were enrolled in the agency's online training program, based on TESDA data from March 16 to September 13.
"Mayroon tayong mga 73,000 OFWs at saka mga dependents nila who have enrolled and graduated in TESDA's skills training programs, kasama na diyan iyong training sa TESDA online program natin," said Lapeña.
(We have 73,000 OFWs and their dependents who have enrolled and graduated from TESDA's skills training programs, including the TESDA online program.)
The TESDA intensified its online program in mid-March to cater to a larger number of enrollees after parts of the country were placed on lockdown, forcing millions of Filipinos to stay indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Considering that TESDA graduates had an 85-percent employability rate, it was likely that OFWs who finished TESDA courses were already employed or have started their own businesses, said Lapeña.
He added that other returning OFWs who wish to take up TESDA courses may register through "TESDA Abot Lahat ang OFWs," a feature available on the agency's mobile app.
"Kung mayroon mga naka-register diyan, our regional offices and provincial officers reach out to them para makausap sila kung ano 'yong mga interest nila, ano ang skills na gusto nilang ma-train at saka after that, they will be helped na magkaroon ng trabaho," he said.
(Our regional offices and provincial officers reach out to the OFWs who registered in our app to talk to them, find out what their interests are, what skills they want to train in and after that, they will get help so they could get jobs.)
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reported that around 174,000 OFWs have been repatriated since April, many of whom had lost jobs overseas because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Lapeña said 965,929 have enrolled in TESDA's online courses since March 16, of which 452,992 have completed their programs.
TESDA was also offering "relevant and timely courses," such as the practice of COVID-19 preventive measures and proper waste management in the workplace, he said.
Lapeña added that TESDA trainees and scholars, who are now attending classes through blended or flexible learning methods, were given allowances such as:
- P160 training allowance
- P500 internet allowance
- P500 health/personal protective equipment allowance
- One-year accident allowance