THOUSANDS of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda in northern Cebu have finished a training program sponsored by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to help them get back on their feet.
The 2,600 graduates marched on November 6 and 7 in separate graduation rites organized by Tesda for its scholars, who came from among the typhoon survivors.
The graduates of the Skills Training for Livelihood Assistance came from 15 municipalities and one city, Bogo City, all in northern Cebu.
The graduates were given tool kits during the ceremony to help them start with work.
“With training and tools, the typhoon survivors can rebuild on their own or assist in reconstruction efforts and earn from this,” Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva said.
During their training, the graduates built nine new houses that will be awarded to select beneficiaries.
Villanueva said the graduates can also use their National Certificate to seek employment in the country or abroad.
The graduates have undergone competency assessment, and those who passed will receive a National Certificate.
Lito dela Calzada, 45, is a carpenter who did not have formal training. The Tesda training will make him full-fledged carpenter and help him rebuild his damaged home.
Janet Presbitero, 39, took Masonry and hopes to get a job to help her family. Kristy Kay Mahinay pursued a course in Shielded Metal Arc Welding to assist her mother in fixing her home.
To assist in the relief work for the Yolanda victims, Villanueva was assigned by President Benigno Aquino III to oversee the establishment of a repacking hub at the Cebu International Convention Center.
The Tesda chief saw the spirit of volunteerism there and the desire to help among the people, including those who are themselves victims of the calamity.
This inspired Villanueva to organize the STLA with the help of the Tesda provincial office and partner institutions.
The agency tapped 12 accredited training providers to implement the program in northern Cebu.
The training providers offered courses such as Welding, Carpentry, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Masonry, Electrical Installation and Maintenance and Plumbing.
The Cebu provincial government provided a counterpart fund for the program.