The Embassy of India in Manila hosted its annual Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day reception on March 29 which was attended by around 100 ITEC alumni from the Philippines, as well as key Philippine government partner organisations.
Secretary Isidro Lapeña, Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was the chief guest. Renato Ebarle, Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Undersecretary Employment and General Administration Cluster and Commodore Donn Anthony Miraflor (PN), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Education, Training, and Doctrine (J8) addressed the gathering.
Since independence, India's foreign policy has been guided by solidarity with other developing nations, based on shared economic and developmental priorities. With this in mind, a comprehensive program – the ITEC – was launched in 1964 to provide assistance in technical and economic sectors to other developing nations.
Since then, ITEC has reached over 200,000 participants from 160 partner countries. A cornerstone of ITEC programme are the short and long-term training courses conducted in different centres of excellence in India. Every year, professionals from developing countries attend around 300 different courses in over 80 premier institutions of India.
In addition, ITEC offers exchange of best practices and sharing of experience through projects, consultancy, feasibility studies, deputation of Indian experts in partner countries, study tours and disaster relief. ITEC is demand-driven and relies on innovative technological cooperation in line with priorities of the partner countries.
Capacity building cooperation is an important strand of the development-oriented partnership between India and the Philippines. Philippines is an important ITEC partner in the Indo-Pacific. Until date, over 1100 Philippines nationals have participated in a range of training programs in India.
Government departments and other public institutions in the Philippines are free to choose their personnel and courses that are relevant for their development needs. The programme is fully funded by the government of India.
In the civilian sector, Filipino government officials have participated in training courses in a diverse spectrum of disciplines such as IT, rural development, parliamentary practices, entrepreneurship, renewable energy, healthcare, marine and aeronautical engineering etc.
During the pandemic, India continued to extend training through e-ITEC courses. Since April 2020, over 120 Philippines nationals have participated in e-ITEC courses. In February 2022, a three-week long course "Leadership Management and Good Governance Practices for Sustainable Development for Philippine Government Officials" was specially curated in consultation with TESDA, Department of Finance and Department of Budget and Management of the Philippines. Thirty-three government officials benefited from this course hosted by the Indian Institute of Public Administration.
Other e-ITEC courses popular in the Philippines were the course on Digital Documentation of Cultural Heritage attended by 10 participants, course on Disaster Management – Floods and Droughts attended by 13 participants and the course on Environment Impact Assessment attended by seven participants.
Defense training covers fields like security and strategic studies, defense management, logistics and management, etc. Over the last few years, the number of defense slots offered by India to the Philippines has increased steadily. In the coming year, the Philippines has been offered over 50 slots, the highest number of slots in South East Asia. Today, the defense personnel from India and the Philippines are attending flagship defense training programmes in each other's country. Recently an officer from the Philippine Army joined the prestigious 47-week National Security and Strategic Study course at the National Defence College in New Delhi, India.
The growing partnership between India and the Philippines in capacity building reflects the shared resolve to harness the greatest asset that both our democracies have in abundance –the human resource. It also demonstrates a growing trust in India's competence as a provider of technical know-how, expertise and training opportunities.