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Building not just homes but dreams, the TESDA way

The anchor, who hosted the program that featured the TESDAmayan initiative of the Technical Education, Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) Region II to Region VI (Western Visayas), burst into tears as several pictures of trainers doing carpentry and electrical works were flashed on her screen while Regional Director Archie Grande narrated their humble contributions.

The scenario reminded the host of the two tragic supertyphoons that devasted Cagayan, the Lawin in October 2016 and the Ompong in 2018. Both were the worst typhoons she ever experienced, but she realized that it was during these times when good things still do happen-- Filipinos and foreign nations sent their support to rebuild not just broken homes, but dreams.

In January, it was Region 2’s turn to bring back the favor to typhoon-affected Western Visayas when TESDA sent an 11-man team along with Superintendent Edwin Madarang of the Isabela School of Arts and Trades, who led the group in Sipalay City and Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.

Grande said that while local government units in the region provided materials in rebuilding the fully devastated houses during the Typhoon Odette, the team assisted in the restoration the detroyed houses.

Arlyn Liga of Brgy. 4 in Sipalay City, one of the reciepinets of the team's services, said she is beyond thankful to the team for the immediate restoration of her abode.

The team also set up the electrical wirings of damaged houses, and while power is still not available in the area, the two solar power generators provided support to the residents especially in keeping their communication gadgets powered in order for them to connect with their families.

A store, where a solar power generator was installed, was filled with flashlights and cellphone chargers lined up to be energized.

The charging station is open on a 24/7 basis. Nearby residents saved P20 a day as, prior to the installation of the generators, they needed to pay charging fees of private generator sets.

Grande said that the P20 saved by every cellphone owner, which is equivalent to around P100 a week, can already be used to purchase food for the affected families.

Aside from skilled men, the TESDA also sent financial assistance amounting to P31,000 from the different TESDA operating units in the region.
“This is just a small amount, but we believe that this is immeasurable as this comes from the love of the region to the people affected by Typhoon Odette, hoping that we can help them ease their sacrifices,” he added.

Buddy System

It was recalled that TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapena directed a whole-of-TESDA approach in its rehabilitation efforts through the so-called “Buddy System”. Under this, TESDA regional offices not directly affected by the typhoon will provide augmentation teams to the affected areas to assist the affected TESDA regional offices including the communities.

While TESDAmayan is no longer new, as this has been a habit whenever there are regions hit by disasters, the spirit of "damayan” remains one of the Filipinos undying practices.

“This is our branding whenever there are incidents of fire, typhoons, flashfloods, and other calamities,” Director Grande said.

The TESDA's Region VI Director Jerry Tizon meanwhile stated that housing and electrical repairs are just one of the immediate responses of TESDA, a long-term support will follow.

There are lined up trainings on carpentry, shielded metal arc welding, masonry, plumbing, electrical installation among others, of which TESDA VI is now looking for more potential trainers so that residents will have a chance to learn more skills. This is TESDA’s way of multiplying their manpower through the provision of various trainings.

"One of the problems encountered after the onslaught of disasters is the lack of manpower that will work on the ground as responsders, and this is where the skills of the residents are needed," Director Tizon said.

The six provinces in Region 6 now have their respective training slots and are expected to start with the training the soonest possible time.

Kudos Team Region 2

While they are new to the place, the team members remain light-hearted and happy to serve the communities in Sipalay and Kabankalan.

The team from Region 2 is being taken cared of by TESDA Region VI and is staying in one of the schools as their temporary shelter while providing support to the residents.

Truly, that with this endeavor, relief and rehabilitation efforts were made easy and the affected people felt that they are not alone in their road to recovery. This is TESDA’s way of rebuilding their homes and their dreams as well.

And, no matter how difficult the calamity victims' journey is, their travel is light because there are people who shouldered some of their burden. This is not only “bayanihan” or responsibility, this is love for fellow countrymen. (OTB/JKC/GVB/PIA Cagayan)

About the Author

Jan Karl Coballes

Regional Editor; Research and Development Officer; Tuguegarao City and Batanes Information Center Manager

Region 2

Ibanag. Writer. Researcher. Ethnographer. Ethno-historian. Graduate student focusing on linguistic and cultural anthropology.

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