• US envoy visits Tesda, takes a peek at solar light production

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    NEW United States (US) Ambas-sador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg visited the Technical Education and Skills Devel-opment Authority (Tesda) central office in Taguig City to take a glance on the volunteers, trainers and trainees who assembled the solar lights for the typhoon victims.

    The kits used in making the solar night lights were provided by the US government through My Shelter Foundation.

    Goldberg’s visit coincided with the International Exchange Alumni Volunteers’ Day organized by the US Embassy to recognize its alumni-volunteers who devoted their time and effort to produce solar night-lights for the Yolanda victims with the help from the Tesda trainers from the regions nationwide who serve as their coaches.

    The trainers are undergoing training in the assembly of solar powered devices including innovation of solar products at the Tesda central office.

    The state skills training agency has distributed hundreds of units of the solar lights in provinces in the Visayas hit hard by Typhoon Yolanda, including Leyte, Samar and Negros. A number of households remain without electricity since the November 8 calamity.

    Lawyer Teodoro Pascua, Deputy Director General for Field Operations, thanked Goldberg for his visit, saying this boosted the morale of the volunteers, trainers and trainees.

    “With the international community behind us, who would not say that the typhoon affected areas will bounce back,” Pascua said.

    Yolanda left 6,000 people dead, close to 30,000 injured, and more than four million homeless.

    The government has begun crafting a master plan for relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation, which would entail over P100 billion in funds.

    Goldberg, who replaced Harry Thomas Jr. as Washington’s top diplomat in the country, hit the ground running following his arrival in Manila with visits to Leyte and Bohol, which was earlier struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

    For the solar night light project, the US Embassy gave an initial funding of $10,000 and augmented by funds from Tesda.

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