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PIA Press Release

TESDA improves assessment procedures for seafarers

Manila (1 September) -- Sec. Augusto Boboy Syjuco, director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), proudly announces the adoption of a new and better system and set of procedures that will strengthen and expedite applications for maritime occupations.

The move is in anticipation of the high volume of applicants responding to the high demand for sea-based workers. Add to this the partnerships sealed by the government with other countries such as the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.

"We are aware that the present system has grown outdated and so we are setting in place a simpler and more efficient system. We are also strengthening our security measures like in the design of our accountable forms," explained Secretary Boboy Syjuco.

The director general was referring to the computerization of the assessment and certification system, which will cover from the filing and of documents down to the issuance of Certificates of Competency (COCs). Specifically, this will include online verification of documents and digitization of photos, signature, and fingerprints.

"The system upgrade is expected to shorten the processing period from seven to four days," Secretary Syjuco added.

TESDA believes that the conversion to a computerized system is a protective measure against possible occurrences of untoward incidents that may jeopardize the agency's entire program of skills assessment and certification. "We have always taken seriously the integrity of our assessment system," assured Secretary Syjuco.

The initiative is supported by four large assessment centers at the National Capital Region, namely, Blue Horizon Maritime and Assessment Center, Fremarobi Skills Development Center, InterSeas Management Training Center, and Nautical Options Training Institute of the Philippines.

"We are talking here of a minimum 350 applicants for assessment per day," cited the TESDA chief. "By the end of the year, the system must be fully integrated in Luzon and ready for duplication in the Visayas and Mindanao regions."

The Competency Assessment and Certification Program is one of the three pillars of TESDA. It meticulously reviews the continued relevance of TESDA's current policies, implementing guidelines, and existing systems on skills assessment and certification. No other government agency is mandated to issue certificates of competencies for skilled workers that are recognized internationally.

The TESDA website maintains a Registry of Certified Workers, which can be readily accessed. The database has 84,720 records of certified workers in various skills. It facilitates an easier method of verifying employable workers.

One of TESDA's mandates is to set standards that vouch for quality skills training from household service to construction to seafaring. Assessment and certification are two important procedures that confirm if the competencies necessary for a specific occupation are being met.

Protecting the Pinoy WOW

From the moniker Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Secretary Syjuco now calls our workers abroad as Pinoy Workers of the World or Pinoy WOW. "In a currently competitive global economy, we want our workers to be not just knowledgeable and highly skilled, but also good at communicating with his employers and fellow workers. We also try to orient them on other countries' cultural background." This is, in fact, the rationale behind the establishment of the TESDA Language Skills Institute located at TESDA Complex in Taguig.

In 2006, a total of 1,221,417 laborers left, which is 1.4 percent higher from last year's according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. This means hundreds of people trooping to assessment centers everyday for their skills certification.

Secretary Syjuco points out the other key players in the process of assessment and certification, namely, manning agencies, assessors, assessment agencies. "We hope that with our combined efforts, more will be encouraged to take advantage of the numerous occupations in the maritime industry," he concluded. (PIA) [top]

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