TESDA GRADUATES: 158 Naga landslide survivors celebrate Christmas with hope for a better future
Some victims of the September 20 landslide in Naga City will celebrate Christmas with a spark of hope, new opportunities and the promise of a better future.
Now, they can have a chance to rise from the tragedy and rebuild their shattered lives and homes armed with new skills and promised jobs.
Romeo Visayas is among the 158 landslide survivors who availed of the short term vocational courses that the Technical Education an Skills Development Authority (Tesda) offered them.
For Visayas, who was already grateful to have survived the landslide that buried alive at least 78 of his neighbors in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan, it was a chance to learn new skills that could land him a job.
“Nalipay pod mi kay at least naa mi nakuha nga magamit namo og panarbaho (We are happy because at least, we have learned new skills that can help us find jobs),” said Visayas who belongs to the 444 families that need to be relocated because their houses are immediately surrounding ground zero.
Last Friday, December 21, Visayas and 157 other survivors, who availed of the Tesda program, proudly received their certificates for completing the vocational courses they took.
Visayas, 28, enrolled and finished the 11-day module for tile setting with 40 other landslide victims from Barangay Tinaan and the adjacent village of Mainit.
Aside from tile setting, Tesda also offered courses on carpentry and operating heavy equipment like hydraulic excavators and bulldozers.
The special short-term courses facilitated by St. Peregrine’s Institute in Carcar City produced 41 graduates, composed of 25 men and 16 women, for tile setting; 41 graduates including 6 women, for carpentry; 51 hydraulic excavation and 25 bulldozer operators.
During their graduation last Friday, the graduates were all smiles, a refreshing turn from their anxious expressions three months ago as they excitedly received their National Competency (NC) certificates.
Their graduation held at the Naga City Hall was graced by Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong, the provincial directors of Tesda in Central Visayas and Tesda Secretary Isidro Lapeña.
The graduates of tile setting and carpentry also received tool kits that they could use in their work.
With the promise of job opportunities after their training, Tesda has partnered with a Manila-based construction firm that promised interested Tesda-certified landslide victims with employment.
For Visayas, landing a job will help tide him and his elderly parents over while waiting for them to be relocated.
Visayas and his parents are renting a house in Talisay City while waiting for the relocation provided by the city government and the National Housing Authority.
Mayor Chiong, for her part, praised the graduates for grabbing the opportunity to make their lives better during the graduation ceremonies.
“Ang skills training isa ka manifestation that the most significant role of the government is to provide opportunities for the people. Despite the landslide, dili lang ta maguol. I am happy that kamo ni-respond ug nitake sa opportunity, and karon finally nigraduate mo,” Chiong said.
(The skills training is a manifestation that the most significant role of the government is to provide opportunities for the people. Despite the landslide, we should not be sad. I am happy that you responded and took the opportunity to learn new skills, and now, finally you have graduated.)
Chiong also committed that the city government would shoulder the medical examination cost and the transportation of those landslide victims, who would want to grab the opportunity to work in Manila.
“Kinahanglan man gyod ta mosakripisyo kung gusto nato nga mahayahay ang pagpuyo sa atong pamilya. Hinaot nga dili ni ninyo usikan ang opportunidad,” Chiong said.
(We need to sacrifice if we want our lives and that of our families to get better. I hope that you will not let this opportunity to pass you by.)
Lapeña, for his part, said the skills training had become more significant considering the tragedy that these graduates had experienced.
“This will be one way for you to rise from the emotional and economic endeavors. When you think about economic benefits, 158 people may sound few and small, but it is a step towards development,” said Lapeña.
“You have the power to make your dreams come true. Kayo din yun. Tulungan nyo ang sarili ninyo. Determination ang kailangan para magkaroon ng mabuting buhay,” he said.
(You have the power to make your dreams come true. You are them. Help yourself. You would need determination to have a better life.)
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