Agusan solon pushes "I-CARE" program, donates P4.5M for next 3 years
by Gervacio C. Dauz Jr.
Butuan City (December 7) -- Vowing to give education a strong push during his campaign sorties, first-termer Hon. Jose "Joboy" S. Aquino II, Representative of the 1st Congressional District of Agusan del Norte-comprising Butuan City and Las Nieves-now walks the talk by investing a whooping P4.5 Million for technical vocational education and training (TVET) scholarships of his constituents for the next three years beginning in year 2008.
He proved his given priority to education when he signed a memorandum of agreement just recently with Secretary Augusto Boboy Syjuco of TESDA - both of whom stamping the covenant of mutually helping train and educate a projected 2,600 scholars of the 1st District of Agusan del Norte for the next three years.
Cong. Joboy's commitment of unleashing said amount, to be taken from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), would be equally matched in a "mano-a-mano" showdown as pronounced by Sec. Syjuco.
Indeed, finding a sure ally cum collaborator in and through TESDA's Invigorating Constituents Assistance in Reinforcing Employment (I-CARE) Program, Cong. Joboy's crusade and burden of pushing back the frontier of illiteracy in his congressional district would surely be halved given TESDA's counterpart.
In chipping in precious resources for education, Cong. Joboy's motivation actually, which he revealed, is to help his constituents become more bankable as they search for jobs, either here or abroad.
Somehow, he took to task TESDA, through Officer in Charge Provincial Director Leo V. Velez of Agusan del Norte, by requesting among others "to please be diligent, if not ensure, the employment of our would-be scholars after they would graduate" from the I-CARE Program. "I don't want them to come back to me, after graduation, and ask for jobs."
Likewise, "I would be happy," Cong. Joboy further said, "if you can give us a regular report-sort of providing us with a feedback."
Refreshing though was his pronouncement that "I would abide with the guidelines set forth by TESDA in recruiting and screening prospective scholars."
PD Velez, in response to Cong. Joboy's request, vowed by saying: "I think we are obligated to report to you, both the financial and physical angles, because our part is really to monitor and evaluate the Program's outcome and impact."
At the bottom line, PD Velez waxed ecstatic because the I-CARE partnership between the 1st Congressional District of Agusan del Norte and TESDA would hopefully address the "needs of the poor but deserving students who are obviously burdened due to the rising cost of education."
Furthermore, in an interview with this writer, he said he has only a "thumbs up" regard for Cong. Joboy, who clearly appreciated TESDA's TVET Programs.
He revealed that Sec. Syjuco had actually given the pronouncement that "TESDA would match each congressman's I-CARE investment up to a ceiling of P5.0 Million." More than that, "everything should be cleared first with Sec. Syjuco's office."
He divulged that the "I-CARE Program of TESDA is actually a nationwide endeavor."
As a side beat story, he shared that just recently, all of them-from the Regional Directors down to the Center Chief Executives-were directed to storm the House of Representatives found at the Constitutional Hills, Batasan Complex, Diliman, Quezon City and solicit creatively from their respective representatives. "On the first day of the assault, we managed to collectively squeeze a commitment from the congressmen to the tune of P700 Million for the I-CARE Program. After three days, we tallied about P800 Million in pledge."
So far, PD Velez revealed, "there are actually five short-term scholarship courses that are highly in demand based on statistics and these are: welding, particularly the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW); consumer electronics; call center agent training; butchering; and barista."
He pointed out that the five courses are identified as part of the top key employment generators based on the May 2006 Employment Summit conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment, which was held in Manila. (TESDA-13/PIA-13) [top]