SBMA, TESDA agree to produce more highly skilled, reliable workforce in Subic Freeport

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña sign the agreement to establish a skills training and assessment center to train potential workers who will complement workforce requirements of industries inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to rekindle its partnership to produce a highly-skilled and reliable workforce.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino and TESDA Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña signed the agreement at the Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort, Clark Freeport on Thursday during TESDA’s 17th General Directorate Conference.

“Subic Bay Freeport is well-known to be the center of highly skilled and English-speaking workers. That is why a lot foreign investors have been confidently setting up their businesses here,” Paulino said.

He added that even during the height of the pandemic, foreign investors remained in the Freeport still hoping to invest in the Philippines and help revive the economy.

According to the MOA, Building 309 located at Canal Road in Subic Bay Freeport will be utilized as a skills training and assessment center to train potential workers who will complement workforce requirements of industries inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).

He added that the center also intends to address the training and assessment improvement requirements of the Freeport zone workers, which include the displaced workers due to the pandemic, the indigenous peoples and the disadvantaged sectors in the area. 

Secretary Lapeña said, “For skills and livelihood programs, the training center will offer programs in agriculture, construction, automotive and land transportation related sectors for the displaced workers and others in need of skills training and upgrading of skills or reinskilling.”

The MOA also stated that the SBMA shall provide the training venue or facility including cost of utilities, while TESDA shall ensure that qualified trainers and assessors, as well as appropriate tools, supplies, equipment and materials are available in the conduct of training and assessment.

“TESDA shall also provide free training and assessment and other related services thru available scholarship programs. Both parties shall jointly implement minimum health protocols in the conduct of training and assessment under the new normal,” Lapeña added.

The duration of the MOA is within five years, providing the two agencies a long-term partnership. It also ensures that the appropriate training and assessment programs and services are extended to the intended beneficiaries of the SBFZ.

The training facility is a two-storey building with an area of 2,000 square meters, initially costing P6.5 million allotted by the SBMA for refurbishment. The first phase will include workshop areas in welding, electrical training program, and other support amenities.

The SBMA’s expansion project for the facility includes the creation of workshop areas on electronics and photovoltaic system at the second floor.

Witnessing the event were Clark Development Corporation (CDC) President Emmanuel Gaerlan, TESDA Board Members Randy Nonato and Nonita Ortiz, SBMA Labor Manager Atty. Melvin Varias, SBMA Public Relations Manager Armie Llamas, TESDA Region 3 Director Balmyrson Valdez, TESDA Deputy Director General (DDG) Lina Sarmiento, DDG Rosanna Urdaneta, DDG Aniceto Bertiz III, DDG Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, and other officials of the two agencies.

Back in 2018, the SBMA and TESDA also collaborated with a company engaged in trading of motor vehicles here for the training of workers in the automotive industry.

Subictrak International Inc., a Subic-registered enterprise engaged in importation, remanufacture, rebuilding and re-export of motor vehicles and heavy equipment, joined TESDA for an in-plant Dual Training System to help increase standards in truck rebuilding.

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