TECHNICAL vocational education and training (TVET) has a new champion.​

Name is Isidro “Sid” S. Lapeña, with a Cabinet rank (secretary) as the new director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) with headquarters in Bicutan, Taguig City.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed him to TESDA after his stint at the ever-controversial Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The former police general replaced Secretary Guiling Mamondiong, who plans to run as governor in Lanao del Sur, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)m in the May 2019 political exercise.

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Winning Filipinos’ hearts

At TESDA as indicated in a news release reaching SDN — Scitech and Digital News, the new director general wants to leverage TVET or skills training as vehicle to get Filipinos closer to the government.

“Through TESDA’s skills training programs and services, we shall win the hearts of our people,” vowed Lapeña just after his installation at the agency.

With sixty-seven summers behind him, he spoke as he accepted his new post from Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Rosanna A. Urdaneta during turnover rites on October 31 at the TESDA Women’s Center (TWC) within the agency’s compound.

Obviously, he wants tech-voc (technical-vocational) programs to help in the government’s efforts to securing peace and order.

Providing quality skills training, jobs and profitable income sources is the solution to many problems in society, not war or unrest, he emphasized.

This is the reason why every Filipino should be given the best chances to improve their lives, specially the least fortunate, he added.

“As a public servant, I am challenged and at the same time humbled, to be given this task of helping the country create opportunities to ensure that our human capital remains not only competitive but productive and world class.

“We at TESDA should ensure that those who have less in life would have more in opportunities to increase their chances to secure their own livelihood, self-employment or inclusion in the labor market,” Lapeña said.

The new TESDA chief is a product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Class of 1973. He served in the Philippine National Police (PNP) for more than 30 years before he retired in 2007.

After Mamondiong’s resignation from the agency, Urdaneta performed as TESDA OIC.

Lapeña thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the chance to head the 24-year-old government agency.

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Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, new TESDA director general. Photo: from his Facebook page)

Providing more chances to poor

When informed for the first time of his appointment, Lapeña asked himself: “What will I do in TESDA?”

However, the President explained to Lapeña the correlation between maintaining the stability of peace and order in the country, and the task of developing skilled human resource, specially among those in the lower strata of society.

Duterte said further that reducing dissatisfaction among the citizens by providing more than enough opportunities will further guarantee the stability of peace and order in the country.

The President was able to convince the former police general.

“TESDA is here to provide better technical vocational education for as many as possible. Accessible education and training mean better jobs, and better jobs mean better lives,” Lapeña added.

The new TESDA chief promised to keep corruption away under his administration. To prove his point he request that he be joined by officials of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) when he took his oath of office.

Meanwhile, Urdaneta encouraged officials and rank-and-file employees of TESDA, particularly the employees’ union known as the Association of Concerned Employees (ACE), to support Lapeña during his transition period.

“All these people in this organization both past and present have contributed significantly in shaping TESDA to what it is today. We share the same commitment, professionalism and concern in pursuing what TESDA should be doing as an education agency. As we transition to a new leadership, with Secretary Isidro Lapeña at the helm, may I ask the same support, the same commitment, and the same professionalism to pursue the agency’s programs as we also look forward to more innovative programs for our fellow Filipinos,” Urdaneta said. (EKU)