The already considerable toll on the Philippine economy caused by the raging COVID-19 pandemic and the severe lockdowns imposed to contain the disease continues to rise, with more Filipinos forced out of work and businesses either closing down or mightily struggling to survive.
Not all is bleak, however, as individuals and institutions have come together to fight not just the pandemic but the rising sense of hopelessness and desperation. By marshaling their resources and expertise, they hope to help Filipinos cope with the pandemic and prepare them for when the country will finally emerge from the twin health and economic crises.
One such institution is Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), the social arm of the Shell companies in the Philippines that has been in operation since 1982 with the mission to implement programs designed to build capacities to promote self-reliance and develop the potentials of its beneficiaries, both individuals and communities. Rather than slow down in the face of the pandemic that has also adversely affected the groups operations, PSFI stepped up and embarked on innovative programs geared toward the fulfillment of its vision to enable the disadvantaged become productive and responsible members of Philippine society, strengthen community systems and thereby contribute to the countrys sustainable program. Among the latest of these initiatives is the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA)with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) under which PSFI seeks to have hundreds of Filipinos certified in key skills that they can use to support their families.
The agreement signed late last month is the latest in a series of collaborations between PSFI and Tesda that started just two years after PSFI was established. The resulting Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal (SKIL) ended up being among its long running programs.
PSFI executive director Sebastian Quiones Jr. said in a speech during the MOA signing late last month that SKIL was a fitting response to the widespread unemployment problem among productive youth and the growing demand for middle-level craftsmen here and overseas during those years.