COTABATO CITY (29 October 2014) — Seventy-one scholars from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) completed their skills training and obtained free starter kits on graduation rites held October 29 at TESDA Training Center in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Of the 108 confirmed course finishers, 71 are residents of the ARMM and 37 from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) communities in Region 12.
The confirmation, led by Directors Omar Shariff Jaafar of the ARMM and Zeus Ampuyas of TESDA-12, marked the first batch of technical-vocational finishers under the P10-M Sajahatra Bangsamoro Skills Training Scholarship program funded by the national government.
The skills training is an educational component of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro, which is a socio-economic initiative for Moro communities availing for them wider access to opportunities in alleviating poverty. Another component is focused on health services, including issuance of PhilHealth cards.
The Sajahatra is also aimed at accelerating the transition of conflict-affected communities into productive areas while the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) iron out the final peace agreement.
Tapping the TESDA-ARMM for its implementation, the program for 660 slots in the entire autonomous region covers free technical education and skills training, competency assessment fee, starter kit, and a P60/training day allowance for each beneficiary.
Ruby Andong, Sajahatra Bangsamoro program focal person, said around 424 beneficiaries in the ARMM are still undergoing their training in different localities in the region and are expected to complete their courses this month.
The short-term courses are computer hardware servicing, auto-servicing, electrical installation and maintenance, machining, commercial cooking, consumer electronics, dressmaking, food and beverage, and bread and pastry production.
“The program caters to the need for skills training of MILF rebel-returnees and their dependents for key employment and job generation,” she said. Andong said a job matching scheme has been designed and will be launched early next year in support of the program.
The training program, expanding from 45 to 55 days, has the support of partner institutions, such as trade schools, as service providers accredited by the TESDA.
Bohari Abdulkadir, 22, a former member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, now a graduate in Computer Hardware Servicing, said he’d rather choose his tool kit than his firearm. “Ito na ang pipiliin ko kesa baril. Balak ko pong makapagpatayo agad ng sarili kong computer repair shop.”
TESDA-ARMM Director Jaafar urged the graduates to be the front-runners of hope and partners for development in the incoming Bangsamoro entity. (Bureau of Public Information)