Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva announced his bid for a Senate post during a gathering honoring scholars on Tuesday.
His candidacy was endorsed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“May lakas po ako ng loob na suungin ang isang mas malaking hamon na mag¬lingkod sa bayan. May lakas po ako ng loob na ipagpatuloy ang nasimulang pag¬ba¬bago. May lakas po ako ng loob na sabihin at ipagsigawan: Ako po si Joel Villanueva, certified barista mula sa tech-voc sector, nag-a-apply ng posisyon para maging kinatawan niyo doon sa Senado (I have the strength to face a bigger challenge and to continue the changes that we have started. I am Joel Villanueva, a certified barista from the tech-voc sector, applying for a position as your representative in the Senate),” he said.
Villanueva said he was inspired by the leadership of his father, spiritual and po¬li¬tical leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva.
President Aquino, several congressmen and Cabinet secretaries, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman, Sen. Bam Aquino and Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto attended the event.
Aquino heaped praises on Villanueva and said the TESDA chief will be a capable member of the Senate.
The president said that from 28 percent in 2008, the employment rate of TESDA scholars increased to 71.9 percent in 2014.
“Buong tiwala ako, si Joel ang pinunong kailangan ng bayan na tiyak nating mas ma¬rami pang matutulungan at mapapa¬unlad na kabuhayan oras na maluklok sa mas mataas na katungkulan (I am confident that Joel is the leader that the nation needs, and he will be able to give better livelihood to many if he will be given the chance to serve in a higher capacity),” Aquino said.
TESDA provides funds for various scholarship programs, such as the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) and Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).
From June 2010 to August 2015, the TWSP produced 877,943 graduates, while PESFA turned out 127,232 graduates. STEP, in turn, had 43,500 graduates.
WITH CATHERINE VALENTE