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Friday, September 19, 2008

TESDA Fast Tracking Seafarer Assessment

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary General Augusto ‘Boboy’ Syjuco said the TESDA is fast tracking the assessment of seafarers and continues to issue certificates of competency, belying the complaint of the so-called Retired Seafarers Association that the TESDA has stopped the issuance of COCs since Thursday last week.

“We took note of the complaint, but I wish the complainant had checked with the TESDA first about the matter,” Syjuco said in a press release.

“The TESDA continues to issue COCs and has in fact assigned a fulltime maritime training officer to attend to seafarer concerns,” he added.

Syjuco, who holds the rank of cabinet secretary, also said the RSA’s complaint that the alleged stoppage will cause delay in the deployment of seafarers is far-fetched.

“Since the TESDA has not stopped issuing COCs, how could there be delay in the deployment of seafarers?” he asked.

Data of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show that in 2007, the country deployed 266,553 seafarers, or 25 percent of the total OFW deployment of 1.07 million.

Of the number, 61,307 (23 percent) are officers; 165,263 (62 percent) are ratings; and 33,983 (15 percent) are other passenger ship personnel.

The same data also show that as of September 2008, the country has a total certified seafarer stock of 343,651 deck ratings and 118,593 engine ratings.

The TESDA chief explained that under the law, TESDA is mandated to issue COCs to seafarer deck and engine ratings after conducting a competency assessment.

He said the agency conducts two types of assessments. The first is portfolio or document assessment which covers experienced or returning seafarers. The second is the performance assessment, which consists of written and skills demonstration administered to new entrants in the seafaring profession.

He emphasized that a seafarer must pass the TESDA competency assessment before he could be issued a COC, which has a validity of five years.

Syjuco said that the TESDA has six accredited assessment centers for deck and engine ratings located in Regions 3, 6, 8 and in the National Capital Region. Three assessment centers in Regions 4-A, 7, and 11 are undergoing re-accreditation process.

In Metro Manila, the National Capital Regional office of the TESDA conducts portfolio assessment through the Free Assessment Service of TESDA, while performance assessment is administered by accredited assessment centers.

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