October 26th, 2020

Government Urged to Speed Up Deployment of Filipino Seafarers through Accredited Assessment Centers

Maritime training centers are calling for the speedy deployment of Filipino seafarers as it asks the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to hasten the process of assessment for those who already have contracts but remains unassessed by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We appeal to IATF, chaired by [Health] Secretary Francisco Duque, to allow TESDA assessment so seafarers can work abroad. Christmas is coming. The families of seafarers were looking for a brighter life ahead. They (seafarers) were here for so long. If they were here since March until October, their budget was gone,” said Dr. Glenn Mark Blasquez, president of the Association of Technical Schools in Manila (ATSMI- Manila) in an article from Manila Times.

Blasquez said there are currently thousands of seafarers who have yet to be assessed by TESDA and therefore remain on hold despite already having contracts abroad. He is now asking to allow accredited training centers to have an assessment of TESDA, especially for outbound seafarers.

“It’s just a one-day assessment to be conducted by TESDA. They were just waiting for that assessment to be given a National Certificate (NC). If you have NC, it showed that the OFW is competent,” explained Blasquez. The NC is an industry requirement for those who are trying to apply for a job overseas such as caregivers, seafarers, and domestic helpers.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña said they have been able to mobilize and resume its implementation of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in areas under varying levels of community quarantine throughout the country.

“Currently, the IATF Omnibus Guidelines only permits face-to-face assessment under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for up to 50 percent assessment site capacity,” Lapeña said.

TESDA has also requested IATF to approve face-to-face assessment for outbound OFWs in GCQ areas especially in the National Capital Region (NCR), where most of the target candidates for assessment are waiting to be deployed. Additionally, according to TESDA, this face-to-face assessment under GCQ must comply with the following:

1. Applicants for assessment must present their overseas employment certificate (OEC) and employment contract to TESDA;

2. The accredited Assessment Centers may only operate at a maximum of 50 percent of the assessment site capacity; and lastly

3. Strict compliance to minimum publich health standards and TESDA guidelines.

Source: Manila Times