Tulong-Trabaho bill gets Congress okay

THE Tulong-Trabaho Bill now awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature to finally become a law.

The House of Representatives has 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).

With the approval of the measure, Filipinos are one step away from having access to more innovative technical vocational programs and becoming more competitive in labor force competencies.

Principally authored by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, 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 provides the establishment of 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 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.