Cotabato City— The Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has devolved powers of supervision and control to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to implement its programs and projects in the areas of autonomy.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim said: “Despite challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, all efforts designed to provide access to education for the region’s constituents must not stop.”
BARMM Education Minister Mohaguer Iqbal said the regional government and the TESDA has entered into Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for the devolution of powers of control and supervision over programs and projects allocated for or to be implemented in the Bangsamoro region, composed of Basilan, Lanao Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Secretary Isidro Lapeña, TESDA Director General, said the devolution agreement dated October 30, 2020 “signalled closer collaboration between TESDA and BARMM in the field of Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET).”
A Bureau of Technical Education and Skills Development form part of the BARMM’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), under Iqbal.
Previously, the same powers of TESDA on the implementation of TVET were also devolved to ARMM which has since been replaced by BARMM.
Ebrahim said: “We have many Bangsamoro brothers and sisters who can truly benefit from this shared journey…it’s time to diversify the skills set of our dear Bangsamoro to provide support in the region’s growing human resources requirement, and hopefully, this will also allow them to seek livelihood opportunities in the process.”
According to the MOA, programs and projects, whether locally-funded or foreign-assisted, including TVET scholarship and grant programs, as well as assets along with corresponding budgetary support, shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro Government, through the MBHTE.
“TESDA welcomes these changes as we remain committed to bring quality TVET nationwide. We make sure that our training is inclusive and reflective to our guiding principle (as carried by our campaign), TESDA Abot Lahat,” said Lapeña.
The MBHTE assured TESDA leadership that its counterpart TESD services will be open and made available to all qualified BARMM residents, especially the disadvantaged sector – the poor, illiterate, out-of-school youth, persons with special needs, senior citizens as well as former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Under the Annex Agreement on Normalization, the continuing implementation of the Decommissioning Aspect of the Peace Process includes the provision of TESDA scholarship and training programs to former MILF combatants.
“The current arrangement as contained in the Memorandum of Agreement is far better than what has been implemented before,” said Iqbal, who attended the signing ceremony in Koronadal City.
Minister Iqbal assured that “on the part of the BARMM MBHTE, expect our utmost cooperation on what has been contained in the Memorandum of Agreement and that it will become a reality.”