Philippine Army and TESDA-Ilocos Sur Strike Partnership

STA. CRUZ, ILOCOS SUR – In yet another meaningful step towards convergence, the Army’s 81st Infantry (Spartan) Battalion and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – Ilocos Sur entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at the TESDA Office, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, yesterday.

The MOA outlines the responsibilities of 81IB and TESDA-Ilocos Sur to efficiently perform what is mandated to both in their mutual desire to empower the people of Ilocos Sur and bring development in the province.

It can be recalled that in Section 6 of the Convergence of the Executive Order Nr 70 dated December 04, 2018 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, all departments, bureaus, offices, agencies or instrumentalities of the government, including Government-owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) and State Universities and Colleges (SUC) are directed to render the necessary support to the Task Force that will end the local communist armed conflict.

With this, Lieutenant Colonel Charles DZ Castillo, Commanding Officer of 81IB, implements the Community Support Program (CSP) in Ilocos Sur as part of the AFP’s Development Support & Security Plan “Kapayapaan” in collaboration with the local government units (LGU), the national and local government agencies, and TESDA, among others. The CSP is a community-based, people-oriented peace and development effort aimed to establish and develop disaster and conflict-resilient communities.

TESDA-Ilocos Sur, headed by Provincial Director Marissa T. Alcantara, in partnership with the 81IB, will conduct skills and entrepreneurship training based on the identified needs of the concerned communities in Ilocos Sur. Scholarship programs will also be offered to the community.

Director Alcantara said, “With or without a MOA, it is our pleasure to be working with the Philippine Army to attain what is mandated. Now, strengthened by the MOA, TESDA-Ilocos Sur will most assuredly take part in the Army’s future endeavours.”

Major General Lenard T Agustin AFP, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, commended the development saying, “The MOA Signing manifests the mutual desire to share the responsibility in achieving a common goal. With this, I congratulate the 81st Infantry Battalion for this partnership established with TESDA-Ilocos Sur. May this serve as a good start for a better working relationship”.

MGen Agustin extended his appreciation to TESDA-Ilocos Sur and hoped that more government agencies will be intentional in lifting the state of living of the Ilocanos.

“This effort is a remarkable step by the government for it will reduce the possible issues to be exploited by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs)”, MGen Agustin added.

“We are privileged to partner with TESDA-Ilocos Sur. We are beyond grateful to know that we are not alone in our campaign against insurgency in this part of the country. This development fuels us to be more intentional in performing our job”, said Lt Col Castillo.