SMC extends program to all Bulacan residents, beneficiaries set to complete TESDA training

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

The pilot batch of former Taliptip residents trainees are looking to graduate very soon from their skills training under the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) even as San Miguel Corporation vows to open the program to more Bulacan residents in the next coming months.

With positive feedback coming from the initial 60 enrollees, SMC president and chief operating (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang said SMC and TESDA have already been receiving a lot of inquiries for the succeeding batches.

“We are very pleased with the reports that the initial batch of enrollees who are formerly from Barangay Taliptip are very eager to learn and are doing well in their training. Sila ay masipag at mabilis matuto. We appreciate their effort in learning new skills during the pandemic as this shows their eagerness and pride to participate in a game-changer of a project that will not only benefit them but also the generations to come,” Ang said.

TESDA provincial director Jovencio Ferrer, Jr. confirmed that the pilot batch is performing well. “I see the ongoing training as effective since the graduates are equipped to become competent in their field of choice and prepared for either wage or self-employment.”

Arvee Vasquez, Erwin Libao, and Jojit Teodoro, students in the heavy equipment/hydraulic excavator training course, said the SMC-TESDA program will enable them to eye opportunities at the airport construction project.

“Marami po akong natutunan tulad ng ng pag-operate ng excavator at pati na rin yung tamang attitude. Sa palagay ko makakatulong itong ginawa naming training lalung-lalo na ngayon na wala kaming trabaho,” the 35 year-old Vasquez said.

For his part, the 25 year-old Libao said he will also value the friendships forged during the training. “Marami po kaming naging kaibigan na mga di namin kilala na taga ibang sitio at yung pag-aaral naman namin ay napasaya. Napalaking tulong at oportunidad lalo na po sa amin na hindi nakapag-aral ng college kaya’t kami ay nagpapasalamat.”

The 45-year old Teodoro said: “Marami kaming natutunan at nag-alok pa sila ng iba pang kurso na libre sa tulong ng San Miguel. Nawalan nga ako ng hanapbuhay at mabibigyan kami ng hanapbuhay sa tulong ng TESDA.”

Geraldine Cunanan said she learned the rudiments of dressmaking, from the choice of fabrics, measurements, up the actual sewing of garments, which she will apply when she goes into the business.

“Ang aming pananahi ay hindi lamang para sa amin kundi para na rin sa aming pamilya dahil ito ang nakikita naming solusyon sa malaking problema namin sa hanapbuhay,”said the 35-year old Cunanan, whose father used to be a fishpond caretaker while her mother earns the family keep as a seamstress.

Twenty-one year old cookery student Mark Ivan Pilapil said he has gained enough culinary knowledge to open his own eatery, hopefully, to be situated near the airport construction site.

“Malaking tulong itong pagsasanay namin sa TESDA at sa pamilya naming dahil pwede nang makapagtayo ng maliit na karinderya o negosyo sa itatayong paliparan or airport dito sa aming bayan,” he said.

Eduardo Panganiban also appreciated the welding lessons and hopes to get employed at the airport site. “Maayos po na naipapaliwanag ng Tesda ang tungkol sa pagwe-welding at dahil marami kaming natututunan ay malaki po ang posibilidad na makuha kami ng San Miguel kapag nagsimula na ang paggawa sa airport”, Panganiban said.

The TESDA courses include the heavy equipment/hydraulic excavator course, shielded metal arc welding, electrical installation and maintenance, dressmaking, and cookery.

The pilot batch will undergo up to twenty (20) days of training in their chosen courses and three (3) days of entrepreneurship training. Those who will opt for self-employment and set up their own business will be given toolkits like welding machines, sewing machines, and other equipment.

“The toolkits to be given are a good starter component in setting up their respective enterprises and put into practice their hard-earned skills,” Ferrer explained.

Once they complete the training programs, students will undergo the TESDA skills assessment test before National Certificates or NCII are awarded. Graduates of heavy equipment/hydraulic excavator course, electrical installation and maintenance, and shielded metal arc welding courses will be referred to SMC Aerocity, SMC’s company under SMC Infrastructure that handles the airport development.

“We thank TESDA again for helping us in equipping the Bulacan residents with additional and new skills that will come in handy for those who want to work for us, or establish businesses that will cater not only to the airport but also to their respective communities as well. We need to work together to be able to ensure that the benefits of this airport will reach everyone and that it serves as an impetus for the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ang said.

The initial 60 students mostly came from the 277 families that include former fishpond caretakers or workers who were living in houses on stilts at the coastal areas of Taliptip.

To enable them to start anew and live in sturdier houses at safer locations, SMC provided owners of non-concrete houses P250,000 each, while owners of concrete houses were given the appraised value of their homes multiplied by two, plus P100,000.

For those who have decided to remain in Bulacan, Ang said that SMC’s assistance does not stop with cash assistance but also with equipping them with skills and opportunities through the partnership with TESDA.

“We have a commitment to the Taliptip residents to make their lives better with this project. That’s why aside from the cash assistance, we have provided them opportunities for skills and livelihood training. We want them to work not only for us but also with us in making sure that this project delivers on its promise to help the country recover and provide jobs to many Filipinos,” he said.

The Manila International Airport in Bulakan is also seen to give birth to new local industries and boost existing businesses it will require suppliers, maintenance contractors, food providers, accommodations, and the like. Adjacent to the MIA, the Bulacan Airport City Economic Zone is expected to attract business locators that will provide employment to local residents and boost local government revenues.

The MIA project is capable of handling up to 100 million passengers per year as it will feature four parallel runways with a provision for two more, a world-class terminal, and supported by a seamless transport system.

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