Another laurel will be added to the Provincial Government of Albay’s collection of excellence comes this August 27, 2020 at the 26th TESDA Founding Anniversary. Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara will lead other awardees to receive the 2020 National Kabalikat Award from TESDA Director General Secretary Isidro S. Lapena. The official “virtual” awards ceremony will take place on Aug. 27, 2020 in Taguig City while the governor and his management team will be at the Albay Astrodome to witness and take part in another historic moment for Albay.

TESDA Region 5 Director Toni Jun A.Tamayo and Provincial Director Ruth Dawayen will present the special plaque on August 25, 2020 to Gov. Al Francis Bichara, Vice-Governor Rex Lagman and the PGAs’ department heads for continuing to fulfil TESDA’s mandate in TVET Development at the Office of the Governor, Albay Capitol. The Kabalikat Award is the highest government award given to institutions and outstanding individuals who have invested and partnered with TESDA for human capital development.

The former National Chairman of ULAP, the biggest coalition of government leaders and public servants in the country, he relentlessly pushed for government and business leaders to take immediate actions to the ever-changing and highly-competitive global world order. Since 2016, he galvanized and optimized the public and private sectors to partner for human capital development-with him taking the usual lead. One basis of the award, TESDA Province estimates over Php 200 million worth of investments were devoted in land, equipment, trainings and facilities to the TVET program of TESDA.

Gov. Bichara congratulated in advance TESDA Secretary Isidro S. Lapena for their 26th Founding Anniversary of TESDA. TESDAs’ creation passed the House approval were the awardee was a member of the 9th Congress. “The recognition will only push the PGA to continue to provide meaningful employment for the Albayanos” said the jubilant governor. The Philippines Statistics Office (PSO) reported that the 95.2 percent employment rate of Albay was record-high in 2018. Coincidentally, this year marks the 23-year partnership he forged with TESDA in 1992 in the quaint town of Camalig Albay.

Miss Lily Nicoleta, the Albay PESO Manager narrates her story as she was then in her first year of government service with PGA. Gov. Bichara and TESDA partnered for a training center to improve the global competitiveness of the Albayanos. Named the PGA-TESDA Training Center in Brgy. Salugan, the bustling center graduated over five thousand Bikolanos in just under three years.

For his innovations and creativity, Gov. Bichara was awarded TESDA’s first national award, “the Most Outstanding Training Development Center in Southern Luzon”. So, this makes it our second TESDA Award and our governor, the first-ever TESDA awardee of the Philippines”, exclaimed Mrs Lily Nicoleta now as she nears her retirement.

The AFBVille Farm Schools and Assessment Center located inside the sprawling 15-hectare land in Camalig, Albay, is the latest program innovation, the AFBVille Farm School, now on its second year continues to improve the lives of the Albayano food producers through entrepreneurship and farm enterprise capacity-building for a sustainable agricultural practice while giving value and protection to the environment and ecosystems.

The Non-TVET program of the AFBVille Farm Schools conducted intensive agricultural & fishery trainings. Since 2016, the school graduated over 300,000 Bikolanos from 380 plus relevant Non-TVET trainings while ABVille Farmers Auditorium with live-in dormitories hosted over one hundred twenty (120) region-wide trainings/seminars for government, private, CSOs and other stakeholders.

This story tells of how Gov. Bichara’s’ organizational brilliance rubbed off on two women. The first is the young Miss Lily Nicoleta. In later years, as the Albay PESO Manager, she organized the best job fairs Bicol would ever see. Albay was visited by private companies and employers for its reputation of skilled workers and laborer’s. From the 1990s into the next decade, Miss Nicoleta went on to win every award in the field of employment services and later on in cooperative development.

Now with over forty years of service, she has done her part-and done it well. Just like an old saying from an old soldier…she is ready to just fade away.

The second woman is Ms. Cheryl O. Rebeta, the provincial agriculturist of Albay and managing director of the AFBVille Farm Schools. From 2016 to 2019, she helped showcased thru the AGRI-Expos of Albay-the latest agri-fishery and livestock/poultry innovations and technologies including competitions and contest, the display and trading of agri-fishery and livestock/poultry products, and special delicacies made by the men, especially the empowered Albay agri-based organizations born or rejuvenated in AFBVille.

A 1981 Bicol University graduate in Agriculture Development. She is now the only woman provincial agriculturist in the Main Island of Luzon and is behind the sustaining and maintaining of the collection of partners for agricultural development created by Gov. Bichara. Today, she continuous to improvise and explore ways to improve food security, just two days ago she launched a food production competition, this time, involving Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) of Albay supported by leading NGOs.

The Kabalikat Award 2020 gives tribute to the men and women who stood thru the test of time for they believed in Governor Al Francis Bichara – then and now. Arriba Albay!

Luis Francisco P. Bello
AFBVille APAO Online News