Almost a million Filipino workers including out-of-school youth have been trained in technical and vocational skills by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in the first 11 months of 2004, Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said, as she cited TESDA for promoting the employability of Filipino workers.

A preliminary report of TESDA Director General Augusto Syjuco, Jr. to Sto. Tomas showed that the TESDA-led technical education (TVET) sector produced some 937,000 trained workers from January to November this year to supply labor market requirements locally and overseas particularly on “in-demand” skills in the areas of information and communications technology (ICT), tourism, and agri-fishery.

Sto. Tomas noted that the TESDA’s Labor Market Intelligence Report (LMIR) had stressed the importance of ensuring TVET for Filipino ICT workers even as 1) the country is fast emerging as Asia’s hub in electronic services and a source of significant outsource operations for the US and Europe, and 2) global opportunities continue to abound for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) including those with ICT skills.

She added that at the same time the TESDA focuses efforts to the training of skilled agri-fishery workers who are in demand locally in the country’s growing agri-fishery industry, as well as overseas.

“These showed that TESDA is in place to complement the country’s efforts to meet the local demand and overseas preference for skilled Filipino workers,” the labor and employment chief remarked.

Sto. Tomas further noted the TESDA’s training efforts amidst the endorsement of the Philippines by the World Tourism Organization — the world’s biggest policy-making body for travel and tourism — as a “unique business and tourism destination” due to the following qualities:

1) The country’s warm and hospitable people; 2) its cultural diversity giving the Filipinos affinity to both Western and Eastern cultures; 3) its advantageous location in Asia and the Pacific that makes the Philippines a mecca for labor exchange, tourism, trade and commerce; 4) its professional workforce who are easily trainable; 5) the renowned fluency of the Filipinos in the English language; 6) the country’s wide variety of scenic spots including white sand beaches, lush forests, mountain peaks, age-old structures, and breath-taking landscapes; 7) its reputation as the “Shoppers’ Paradise” of Asia where visitors could conveniently shop on city malls or bargain in flea markets; and 8) nationwide presence of recreation and entertainment centers, including national parks, golf courses, and concert halls and theaters.

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