AS THE new deputy director general for Tesda’s communities and local government unit support, former Mandaue City mayor Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing said he will work on making sure that his office can bring inclusive growth to all areas of the country, including places affected by armed conflicts.
Quisumbing, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority last August, said on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, that one of his tasks is the implementation of the Executive Order (EO) 70, or the Whole of Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
His other responsibilities include acting on technical vocational accreditation requests of local government units and requests for certain types of training for communities such as disabled persons, cooperatives and indigenous people.
The President signed EO 70 in 2018 to address the decades-long problem of insurgency and terrorism in the country.
Quisumbing said the creation of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC), spearheaded by Tesda, is one of the important initiatives taken under EO 70.
The PRLEC, he said, makes sure that a conflict-torn community is not left alone after an encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police and the communists-terrorists groups (CTGs) or violent extremists.
The PRLEC is now focused on creating regional action plans and implementing projects using models that address each community’s identified areas of concerns.
Quisumbing stressed the importance of rehabilitation and making conflict-torn communities feel the intervention and programs of the government.
After peace is assured and after law enforcers take control of an area affected by armed conflict, the Tesda is tasked to immediately conduct assessment on the community’s needs. It will then bring in other government agencies that can cater to the needs of the residents.
Interventions in CV
In Central Visayas, Quisumbing said the Tesda 7 is set to start with its interventions in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in October. The city is the hotbed of insurgency perpetrated by the National People’s Army rebels, who frequently attack government forces.
Earlier this week, Quisumbing said an intervention had already started in Alegria, Cebu. He also said Tesda 7 is also looking into starting another initiative in Siquijor.
Some areas in Alegria and Siquijor were identified as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the PRLEC program, Quisumbing said.
Quisumbing cited the case of a community in Surigao del Sur that had been previously penetrated by CTGs but was eventually given government interventions.
The Tesda personnel, he said, went to the community and discovered that its rich agricultural resources were not maximized because of the difficulty in transporting the produce to the area’s center.
The residents were trained on agriculture and food processing. Tesda also linked up with the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction of the farm-to-market road and the Cooperative Development Authority for the organization of cooperatives for profit sharing.
Tesda also partnered with several private firms to look for buyers of the community’s produce.
Quisumbing said the initiative to partner with the private sector means that there is food security despite the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
He said the panic-buying episodes at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak in the Philippines early this year were brought about by fear of food shortage.
Prioritizing communities that had been previously neglected by giving them access to markets, the government can assure food security without heavily relying on imports, according to Quisumbing. / WBS