The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will soon establish an innovation center in Palawan to focus on more advanced training in tourism and emerging industries.

Director General Danilo Cruz said that Palawan is one of the first 17 areas in the country that will have innovation center. The center will facilitate advanced training next to the levels offered by private schools and provincial training center.

It is more modern and will use training equipment like robotic technology, he added.

“We will use robotic simulator at iha-handle namin ang high level— Kung gusto ng estudyanteng tumaas pa ang level ng training, hindi na NC II kung hindi NC IV, V o VI, doon nila kukunin sa innovation center,” he said.

The initial centers constructed in Cebu, Davao, Samar, Bataan, Pangasinan and Isabela were funded by the General Appropriations Act. The Asia Development Bank offered the Philippine government a $100 M loan package to establish 17 innovation centers.

Each innovation center may cost over half a billion budget including infrastructure and equipment. The innovation center in Palawan is plan to be established in the Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades (PPSAT) that could possibly start this year or in 2024.

“Upscaling ng ating mga manggagawa dahil napakabilis ng pagpapalit ng technology— Kaya dapat talaga lifelong learning, walang katapusan pag-aaral dapat sa ating mga manggagawa. Dapat makapag-produce tayo ng multi-skill, hindi lang isa ang skill na hawak mo,” he said.

Being multi-skilled will help workers to continue working even in the changing technology. TESDA will start to offer training related in tourism considering the main product of Palawan.

It will also identify other emerging industries in consultation with the provincial government. Cruz believes that the training to be offered to the community should be demand driven.

“Matagal na inisip iyan kaya nga lang walang sapat na finances tayo. Pero ngayon binigyan ng importansya, nakita naman, no less than the Asia Development Bank the immediate need for this kind of facilities kaya sila mismo nag-offer sa atin,” he said.

During the height of pandemic, TESDA was able to develop online training program, which Cruz thinks as one of the realizations of the agency.

TESDA eyes to continuously upgrade training module even before some emerging industries established in Palawan. He believes that training should also serve the needs in the community and not just to send workers abroad.

“With the projected investment sa atin, ang daming bagong industriyang itatayo. Ang question ay meron bang tao na pwede magpatakbo nitong mga itatayo na dala ng investment? Doon pa lang tingnan natin kung ano ang pangangailangan ng industriya,” he said.