Top row, l-r: TESDA Sorsogon provincial director Archangel Rodriguez, First Balfour president Anthony Fernandez, and Sorsogon City Mayor Ester Hamor; Middle row, l-r: First Balfour strategic business planning head Macky de Lima, EDC president Richard Tantoco, and Bacman facility head Marcel Rosario; Bottom row, l-r: EDC corporate support functions head Regina Victoria Pascual and CSR head Atty. Allan Barcena Energy Development Corporation (EDC), First Balfour, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Region 5 and the local government of Sorsogon recently held the signing of a memorandum of understanding to implement technical-vocational training for the residents of EDC’s host communities in Bacon, Sorsogon and Manito, Albay through KEITECH Educational Foundation Inc. (KEITECH).
A total of 120 KEITECH trainees will undergo training for scaffolding works, shielded metal arc welding, and electrical installation and maintenance.
In his message, First Balfour president Anthony Fernandez said: “The skills we are looking to develop through this program are very important in the construction industry. As you may know, despite the pandemic, there is still a lot of talk about infrastructure spending by this government. However, there are pockets of areas in the country where skilled labor is very difficult to find.”
This sentiment was echoed by EDC president Richard Tantoco, who noted: “About 12 years ago, we had a simple dream of building a school in Kananga, Leyte. The opportunity that we saw was maraming kailangang gawin trabaho pero kulang sa skilled workers.”
The first part of the training program, with 60 trainees from Sorsogon, began in Sorsogon City’s Rizal Integrated National School on April 5 and ends this June. Another batch of 60 trainees from Manito attended the second part of the training program, which started in May and will last until July, at the Community College of Manito.
TESDA Region 5 will then assess the KEITECH graduates for potential employment at First Balfour for its Palayan Binary project manpower requirements.
Awarded by EDC in November 2020, the Palayan Binary Plant project is expected to boost the region’s local economy as 70% of its target total manpower will be sourced from Albay and Sorsogon.
“We will be uplifting the lives of so many families with children trained in both skills and values. Over 1,000 students, probably over 4,000-5,000 certifications, wala pa po kaming kahit isang hindi pumapasa and we intend to maintain this brand of KEITECH education,” stressed Tantoco.
In her closing message, Sorsogon City Mayor Ester Hamor said: “This is an opportunity for our constituents to rise above economic challenges. With the assurance na kukunin at bibigyan ng trabaho ng EDC at First Balfour ang trainees, tiyak na maraming buhay ang magbabago.” (Story/Photos by: Dolly Pasia-Ramos)