Chance for life change

I WAS watching television footage of overseas workers trying to get a visa and work permits. In the sidewalk in front of the National Library in T.M. Kalaw Street in Luneta, Manila, hundreds of seamen wait daily during the work day for a list or information to be able to get on board a ship.

In Bacolod, the number of applicants for a passport crowds the Department of Foreign Affair Office; in Manila the line of passport applicants run up to over 200 meters and the DOF promises to approve 4,000 daily. Extending the life time of the passport from five to ten years will help reduce the number of those who apply for renewal.

We can multiply this scene in every major city in the country where there is a DOF office. Although the passport life is extended, the problem is that more and more Filipinos are going abroad to work and more kids are reaching the age of employment in a country with limited work opportunities.

This diaspora is not limited to our people but to many countries in the world. While some flee their country out of fear for their life and the future of their families, Filipinos leave to have chance to change the circumstances of their lives.

Last year, the Bacolod media was invited to the orientation by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, popularly known as TESDA to a program initiated by Bacolod Councilor Ricardo “Cano” Tan. It was for an initial group that would eventually total 5,000 young men and women of Bacolod to join the TESDA program. TESDA graduates get accreditation for work abroad.

TESDA is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment that undertakes skills development programs, approves skills standards and tests and develops an accreditation system for institutions involved in human resources.

The TESDA scholars will be trained in accredited schools for certain skills. There was long list of skills that was announced, like cooking (not the expensive culinary arts), welding, etc. The point is that these young people will have a chance to change their lives for the better but TESDA needs local initiative.

This was an innocuous project that Councilor Tan initiated because Bacolod lagged behind in this effort among chartered cities. I learned later that some people sneered at the project. There were even reports of attempts to sabotage, to stop it. That was a give-away – this project is truly an excellent way of fulfilling a promise to serve.

It is regrettable that other city officials, instead of helping or initiating their own project to help their constituencies, they undermined Tan’s effort. Surely, it will really make Councilor Tan look “Gwapo” in the eyes of the electorate, but should that not be an inspiration for others to follow?

Sabotaging Cano Tan’s effort speaks volumes of the pettiness and jealousy of the city administration. In fact, if we look closer enough, has the city government a project of this nature? If it has then the better because they are helping make people have a chance in life. On the other hand, sabotaging a project for the common good exposes some city officials’ poverty of good ideas and a wealth of enviousness.

They were a big, big disappointment because during the elections they signed a manifesto to work for the common welfare. That early they already flunked.

“Political eyes” I wrote about yesterday will be at full speed working because last March 8, Bacolod media were again invited to an orientation program of another of Councilor Tan’s project to help give the young what he called a, “life changing move” for those in the first batch.

The political eyes that had been ganging up against Tan since after the 2016 election will be piqued. For this “Learn and Earn Program” will send an initial 150 young people of Bacolod to Taiwan. The orientation program was conducted by the host universities and companies in Taiwan: Chia Nan University, Far East University and Hsing Ku and GGTCC.

According to Councilor Tan, those who could not be accommodated in Taiwan where the scholars will work, earn and study, there will be another batch, this time to Australia. The political eyes will be flaming envious red.

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