Photo from TESDA Facebook Page

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) believes that the technical skills of the locals in the island town of Kalayaan must be enhanced as it launched Project WEST (Wage-Employment and Entrepreneurial Skills Training ) to provide community-based training and scholarships.

Project WEST was launched on Tuesday by TESDA secretary and director general Isidro Lapeña, deputy director-general Lina Sarmiento, and Palawan provincial director Vivian Abueva.

Dante Navarro, regional director, stated on Friday that the distance between Kalayaan town and the mainland makes it difficult for residents to obtain skill training. He added that it was their fourth attempt to visit the community of Barangay Pag-asa before launching Project WEST on April 19.

Photo from TESDA Facebook Page

“When we came there, talagang gustong-gusto nila and they are interested to learn some technical training. Ang nag-emerge doon ay construction, syempre carpentry, masonry, because they were devastated by typhoon. They need to repair their residences. Kapag wala silang knowledge, magri-rely lang sila sa government intervention,” Navarro said.

Included in Project WEST are trainings in food processing by salting and curing, and by sugar concentration, assembly of solar nightlight and post lamps, masonry NCII, carpentry NCII, shielded metal arc welding, NCII, animal production of chicken and swine NCII, and agricultural crop production NCII.

Photo from TESDA Facebook Page

TESDA also left four trainers to run the skills training under Project WEST as it aims to train all the locals in Brgy. Pag-asa with a total population of 193 as per the 2020 census.

“Considering this is a special area talaga na unreachable kung tutuusin, very selective lang ang nakakarating. Medyo related sa aming poverty reduction, livelihood, and employment cluster program–reaching the remotest barangay,” he said.

Photo from TESDA Facebook Page

Navarro said he believes that Project WEST will be sustainable in Kalayaan with the support and continuous help of the local government unit. If development completely happens in town, it will make it easier for the locals to produce products in markets like Puerto Princesa and other municipalities, he added.

He stressed that the next president must have the political will to develop Kalayaan while protecting it.

“Ang makakagawa niyan is the local government unit, LGU. Sila ang nakakapagbalik-balik–umisip ng paraan na para magiging lesser ang cost kasi para hindi masyado magiging expensive. Ibibenta mo sa market, kailangan mag-isip sila ng paraan kung paano,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.