BUTUAN CITY, July 2 -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) distributed on Wednesday toolkits to graduates of the Special Skills Training Program (SSTP) in Brgy. Casiklan, Las Nieves - one of the priority barangays identified by the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) under Executive Order 70.
According to Agusan del Norte Acting Provincial Director Liza B. Budtan, the training was conducted on January 7-15, 2020 in Produce Organic Vegetables (Leading to Organic Agriculture Production NC II). It was made possible in coordination with Mabakas Techno-Demo Farm, Municipal Agriculture Office of Las Nieves and the 23rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. "They finished the training on January 15, 2020 but due to COVID-19 pandemic, the toolkits distribution was suspended," Budtan added.
In his welcome address, Casiklan Punong Barangay Erwin C. Pesquito expressed his gratitude to TESDA for the free training that his constituents have availed. "In behalf of the residents of Brgy. Casiklan, I would like to express my sincerest thanks and gratitude to TESDA for the free training that our resident-farmers have availed, especially because aside from the training, we also received toolkits that would help them make their works easy," Pesquito said.
Further, Marife B. Sanoy, one of the scholars said in her testimony that because of the training she obtained from TESDA through the Mabakas Techno-Demo Farm, she and her husband were able to build a house which is a dream-come-true of the couple.
"When I finished my training last January 25, 2020, I immediately applied all the learnings and knowledge I gained in the training and with God's help, we were able to sell vegetable products amounting to Php 15,000.00 weekly... With the average income we have per week, we were able to build our own house," she said.
Meanwhile, TESDA-Caraga Regional Director Ashary A. Banto enjoined the scholars to enroll in Organic Agriculture Production NC II so that the knowledge they have right now will be leveled-up, thus leading to the production of high-valued agricultural products. "TESDA will always be here for you. Just tell us if you are interested to be trained specially in agriculture-related qualifications and we will be providing you with knowledge, skills, and the right attitude so that you will succeed in as far as agricultural farming is concerned," Dir. Banto said.
Among the starter toolkits the scholars have received include: steel rake, sprayer, shovel, garden hoe, and sprinkler. Aside from the toolkits, they also received seeds from the Provincial Agriculture Office through its officer-in-charge Mr. Alvin P. Aclan.
Among the officials in attendance are Agusan del Norte Board Member Virgilo Escasinas and Las Nieves Mayor Avelina Rosales. Likewise, personnel of the 23rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and PNP-Las Nieves were also present in the activity providing security to guests and visitors. (Robert E. Roperos, TESDA Agusan del Norte/PIA Agusan del Norte)