OFWs rights advocate appointed TESDA exec

A FORMER congressman who is a known overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) rights advocate was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the new deputy director general for operations of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Aniceto “John” Bertiz III, a former ACTS-OFW party-list lawmaker, takes over the  post vacated by the late Gladys Fua Rosales who succumbed to novel coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) infection last April 3 at the age of 42.

“In the face of a looming recession, you and I should think of creative ways not only to save lives but also livelihoods, especially as we anticipate the unprecedented return of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have lost their jobs abroad,” said Bertiz, ACTS-OFW Chairman. “I thank the President for his trust and confidence, and I humbly accept the opportunity to be once again at the service of our nation and our people, especially those who lost their jobs during the pandemic and those returning OFWs,” Bertiz added.

During his term in Congress, Bertiz was one of the principal authors of Republic Act (RA) No. 10931, also known as the ‘’Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act’’ signed by President Duterte on Aug. 3, 2017.

RA No. 10931 grants free tuition and other fees for students in state universities and colleges, as well as local universities and colleges and technical-vocational institutions (TVIs) under TESDA. TVIs provide non-degree programs aimed at preparing technicians, paraprofessionals and other categories of middle-level workers.

As a former lawmaker, Bertiz was a part of the official delegation composing the Joint Crisis Management Team that assisted in the immediate repatriation of some 11,000 stranded OFWS who were laid off in the Middle East.

Some of these repatriated OFWs were given re-tooling training education at TESDA and since then, have resumed work abroad in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

He also introduced several legislative measures which push, among others, for the financial and entrepreneurial education of OFWs and their families as well as micro-financing program for micro, small and medium enterprises.

ACTS-OFW party-list has provided access to skills training, resources, and peer mentoring to at least 470 women sari-sari store and carinderia owners and operators under the TESDA Star Coke Program;

Since 2016, it conducted livelihood programs with DOLE for 10,260 individuals under the TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapabuhay para sa Displaced Workers); 470 women sari-sari store owners; 216 E-loading stations; 320 cold-cuts outlets; and 70 bigasan outlets. 

It also provided 3,478 students with scholarship under the Iskolar ng Bayan and donated books in cooperation with TESDA and Commission on Higher Education (CHED).