The House of Representatives recently ratified the bicameral conference report on the consolidated version of House Bill 8139 and Senate Bill 1431 or the proposed “Tulong-Trabaho Act,” which seeks to institute a Philippine Labor Force Competencies Competitiveness Program and provide free access to Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
The measure recognizes that the State shall ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation, and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, increase the standard of living, and improve the quality of life.
Thus, the Tulong-Trabaho Bill aims to reinforce the qualifications of the Filipino workforce to keep pace with the rapidly evolving workplaces and work structures, as well as encourage the participation of industries and communities in competencies formation and upgrading towards a more competitive workforce.
It shall offer more innovative approaches to TVET linked to the requirement of various industries, which shall primarily address the issues of unemployment and job-skill mismatch.
The bill shall establish a Tulong-Trabaho Fund to cover the full payment of training fees and allowances for qualified recipients, who have access to TVET programs under the Selected Training Programs (STPs). These STPs shall be determined by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Board.
The Tulong-Trabaho Fund shall be available to (a) any person at least 15 years of age who is not employed, not in education and not in training (NEET), and (b) employed workers who intend to develop and expand their current skills and training.
The TESDA Board shall be responsible for managing the Fund. It shall also be authorized to receive donations from both government and non-government organizations to be used strictly and exclusively for the beneficiaries and qualified applicants.
It shall approve the final list of STPs eligible to receive funding. The bill states that these may be school-based, center-based or web-based.
The STPs shall be determined based on the following considerations: (a) the latest issuance of Labor Market Intelligence Reports, (b) quantitative and qualitative data on employment opportunities to be provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), (c) data on jobs and skills matching as determined by TESDA, and (d) Human Resource Development Roadmaps, among others.
The Board shall also be the body to prepare the guidelines, which shall determine the qualified beneficiaries entitled to receive the financial assistance from the Fund.
Meanwhile, industry boards seeking funding for STPs shall submit a list of trainees who have requested support from the Tulong-Trabaho Fund to the TESDA Regional Directors. The RDs shall then assess the recipients and submit a list of qualified individuals to the TESDA Director General for approval.
The measure provides that schools and training centers that benefit from the Fund shall be periodically evaluated by the TESDA Board.
The recipient-industry boards and institutions shall guarantee that at least 80 percent of the beneficiaries are able to pass the Philippine TVET Competency Assessment and Certification System. Failure to meet the requirement shall subject the schools and training centers to performance review and audit.
For transparency, the TESDA Board shall issue and make available to the public an annual report on the expenditure of the Tulong-Trabaho Fund and other funds allocated in the General Appropriations Act, donations, and the performance of qualified recipients, among others.
The bill shall establish a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee comprised of three members each from the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education and the House Committee on Labor and Employment, as well as three members each from the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.
Oversight Committee Members shall be appointed by the House Speaker and the Senate President.
HB 8139 is principally authored by Reps. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), Sherwin Tugna (Party-list, CIBAC), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party-list, BH), and Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. (2nd District, Camarines Sur). Meanwhile, conferees of the bicameral conference included Reps. Paolo Everardo Javier (Lone District, Antique), Randolph Ting (3rd District, Cagayan), Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay), and Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A TEACHER).
Meanwhile, its counterpart bill, Senate Bill 1431, is authored by Sen. Joel Villanueva. The Senate bicameral conferees were Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.