An applause emoji should fit in here nicely!
If the 75,000 people who are claiming financial reparation as victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship can’t claim compensation, at least some can have, for the moment, another alternative.
That’s skills training which the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will provide for around 6,000 victims of human rights victims under ousted President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
TESDA is one of the implementing partners of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRCVB) for the latter’s Non-Monetary Reparation (NMR).
Republic Act 10368 created the HRCVB “to recognize and/or provide reparations to the victims of gross human rights violations committed” by the Marcos martial law regime spanning September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986.
Secretary Guiling “Gene” A. Mamondiong, TESDA director general, on January 22 announced the 6,000 human rights victims from an initial list who are eligible to take technical vocational training covered under the NMR. At the same time, the Maranao government official made clear that the agency will not give out financial assistance to the human rights victims.
TESDA’s involvement is to provide skills training intervention aimed at empowering the members and their families with a better chances at landing jobs through earning wage or self employment.
He explained those concerned can avail themselves of the skills training and other programs. “The eligible beneficiary may avail (himself/herself) of the free skills training and other TESDA services such as training needs assessment, career counselling, competency assessment and certifications, entrepreneurship training and job referrals,” said Mamondiong.
Beneficiaries are also given the chance to take multiple scholarship programs under the agency, he said, but they cannot take them simultaneously, meaning It should be one after the other.
TESDA is offering various scholarship programs, such as Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA), Special Training for Employment Program (STEP), and Language Skills Training (LST).
Mamondiong pointed out that beneficiaries do not have to come to the TESDA Headquarters in Taguig City, Metro Manila. Beneficiaries may go directly to the nearest TESDA Office to them in the regions, provinces, or districts to inquire about the scholarship programs.
If a human rights victims had already passed away, qualified dependents are allowed to avail themselves of the benefit from the agency.
TESDA does not stop at providing skills training. After beneficiaries’ completion of their training the agency promised to endorse eligible graduates to the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of the concerned Local Government Units (LGUs) for job referral.
The HRCVB is the government’s recognition of human rights victims’ heroism and sacrifices under the Marcos Martial Law regime. But not only those aspects are being addressed. “It also acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to provide reparation to the victims, as part of their right to access to justice, with the objective of ending human rights violations committed within its territory by state agents,” said Mamondiong.
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Prior to TESDA’s announcement of the NMR it is providing, the HRCVB had met with various other government agencies during which they discussed and clarified their obligations to provide NMR for the human rights victims of the Marcos regime.
In the meetings were the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
It can be recalled that since his appointment in July 2016 to TESDA by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Mamondiong has been putting in place various reform and development agenda to produce world-class Filipino workforce who are also better in character the nation can be proud as they also serve as ambassadors of goodwill abroad.