Reskilling the Filipino
As the agency marks its 25th anniversary,
TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña talks about his leadership
mandate and strategies for developing a world-class workforce.
BY MARCO NICANOR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAR CONCENGCO
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is celebrating its 25th year since its inception through RA 7796 in 1994. More than ever, TESDA needs a firm and strong leadership in empowering the Filipino labor force with adequate skills training to be globally competitive and achieve
social equity with reduced poverty. Secretary Isidro Lapeña is the man tasked by the President to get this
The director-general has been part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s trusted circle and dependable ally to
his promise of getting back the trust of the people in the government by ridding it of corruption and inefficiencies. When President Duterte assumed office in 2016, Lapeña was already almost a decade
retired from service after having served as the Deputy Director General of the Philippine National
Police (PNP). But when he was called back to duty by the President, he answered.
Lapeña was initially named as the Chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and
later assigned as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) where he set record-breaking
revenue collections by cleaning house and instilling discipline and ridding the bureau of corruption and
inefficiencies. And now, the veteran public servant is at the helm of the country’s authority for technicalvocational education and training (TVET).
Since assuming the position as the Director General of TESDA, Secretary Lapeña has instilled a new slogan for the agency: “TESDA ABOT LAHAT.” He shares that he wants everyone in TESDA and its affiliates to imbibe this battle cry and have the mindset of reaching out to everywhere and everyone who needs skills training.