The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is focusing on agriculture-related training for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) to further develop their skills that would contribute to ensuring food security in Palawan.
Shiara Conde, head of the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS) Office of the Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades (PPSAT), said they are considering providing scholarships to PDLs who are set to be released.
TESDA-PPSAT produced about 43 graduates under the program of production of high-quality inbred rice and seed certification and farm mechanization training (Farm Field School). The first batch took their class from March 26 to June 25, followed by the second batch from March 27 to June 26.
“The skills training program is one of the ways we espouse sustainable reformation for the Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) that would lead to their positive re-integration into society as well as preparation for their eventual employment once they are done serving their sentence in the facility,” she said.
The recent batch graduated on July 26, and certificates were personally given by TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF). The PDLs under the program will receive a training allowance and free training and assessment, including entrepreneurship training and insurance.
TESDA-PPSAT is confident that the skills acquired from the training in farming methods will be helpful for PDLs of the IPPF to increase their harvests and income. As part of their reformation program, it will equip PDLs once they are released from the prison facility.
“As agriculture is one of the priority sectors since the hit of the pandemic, the IPPF management is keen to participate actively in promoting food production and food security. Considering its hectares of land, which stretches to other sub-colonies and human resources, their partnership with other agencies has been strengthened to achieve full and efficient utilization of their resources,” she said.
Other agriculture-related training provided by TESDA-PPSAT to PDLs are the production of organic fertilizer in Sta. Lucia sub-colony and planting crops in Inagawan sub-colony.
IPPF Supt. Joel Calvelo has said that one of the management’s goals is to make better use of the prison’s unused land and agricultural potential.
“The IPPF management is set to institute reformation programs intended for the development and enhancement of agricultural-related training programs through partnering with other agencies like TESDA- PPSAT to strengthen the agricultural skills of the PDLs,” she said.
Aside from agriculture-related training programs, TESDA-PPSAT will also assist with construction-related training such as carpentry and welding, upon IPPF request.