By Jason De Asis
BALER, Aurora-Graduation rites was were formally held for members of Barangay Tagumpay People’s Association (BTPA) who finished their training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) National Certificate 1 (NC-1) by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) through the help of Philippine Army’s 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion in Barangay Tagumpay, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija on Thursday, Oct. 19.
Lt. Col. Julito B. Recto, Jr., commander of 91st IB said in an interview on Friday that the move was in an effort to provide livelihood and skills training to 25 former supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) who are now members of the said Peoples Organization (PO). “The training started on August 15, ended on September 29, 2023 and now their graduation aims to provide technical skills and experience for the students as they incorporate themselves into the community,” Recto said.
He is hoping that the skills training will provide the graduates the opportunity to be employed and become more competitive for the future of their families. “We are monitoring them to become successful and sustainable in their livelihood. We are also planning another sustainable livelihood for them,” he said.
The said POs underwent a 34-day training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) National Certificate 1 and witnessed by one squad of Alpha Company of 91st IB as one of their programs under Executive Order 70 or the whole of nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC). “We in the Armed Forces sought assistance from TESDA so that each member of our PO can provide work alone, assisting them in their business such as welding shops using their respective welding machines. We will recommend them to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to find a job,” Recto said.
On the other hand, Supervising TESDA Specialist Raquel P. Baluyot said the mobile training is one of the interventions provided by the TESDA-led Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC). “We together with 91st IB, local government units and concerned agencies will bring this program to the remote villagers as part of the national government’s efforts to curb insurgency in the country through provision of livelihood and employment,” Baluyot said.
The said students also received the Certificates and allowances with a total P5,440 each. The training was held at Multipurpose hall, Barangay Tagumpay, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.
Gabaldon Municipal Administrator Ricardo A. Subido expressed his sincerest thanks and appreciation to TESDA and the 91st IB during the graduation ceremony.
Subido also recalled the contributions of the late Senator Edgardo J. Angara the father of Senator Sonny Angara in his visionary leadership and unparalleled track record as a public servant who was the champion in the education culture and sports that he knew.
Barangay Tagumpay Peoples Association President Yolanda Baldoz congratulated the graduates and expressed her sincerest gratitude to 91st IB, TESDA, Sierra Madre Technical Institute, Inc., (SMTII), barangay and local government units among others that dedicated their selfless support to the group. SMTII School Administrator Reynaldo S. Arindain said the mobile training was successfully conducted due to the relentless support provided by 91st IB from the start in continuous collaboration and coordination with the concerned agencies. “We encouraged the graduates to continue to learn and get the SMAW NC 2. Our school is here to give you hope in your lives,” he said.