Syjuco stops infomercial with Sarah Geronimo

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Augusto “Buboy” Syjuco has ordered the stoppage of his “infomercial” with famous singer and actress Sarah Geronimo to settle the controversial issue and to avoid further criticisms.

“TESDA does not wish to be involved in any controversy. We need to keep peace with all other agencies. We are now stopping our infomercial so there’s no infomercial by Sept. 1,” Syjuco told reporters in a press briefing yesterday at the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.

“We hope to be able to satisfy all quarters by stopping this infomercial,” he added saying TESDA decided to finally explain its side regarding the issue.

Syjuco also admitted that TESDA spent a total of P28 million for the “advocacy program” including its infomercial, but he explained that it is only one-third of one percent of TESDA’s total 2009 budget of P8.1 billion.

The official also insisted that the P28 million budget for TESDA advocacy was worth it as it gain a lot in all its programs because of infomercials.

“Totoo na P28 million ang budget namin, pero ang tanong dito saan ginastos, angkop ba ang pagkagastos at sulit ba ang ginastos. Ang sagot po ay sulit na sulit,” Syjuco added.

Syjuco who also denied that he is planning to run for any post in the government in the coming 2010 polls, but admitted that TESDA paid P6 million for the talent fee of Geronimo and the payment was part of the P28 million budget for its advocacy.

He said the P6 million budget for Geronimo was good for one year as the contract will be finished before the term of Syjuco ended.

“She’s the hottest entertainer in the country and she’s one of the best endorsers, that’s why it’s worth to pay her that amount,” Syjuco noted.

The TESDA head explained that TESDA need to pay for the infomercial because his department has problems of mismatch and structural unemployment and perennial societal bias against Tek-Bok (technical vocational) — considered second class career option.

In his power-point presentation, Syjuco said that in 1986 they only recorded 97,540 graduates, but with the advocacy including the infomercials they already have 1.8 million graduates in 2008 or increased by 18 times over 1986.

He added that in 1996, TESDA only had 13,000 scholars and P200 million scholarship budget, but as of 2009 the scholars increased by 62 times with 809,800 scholars. The scholarship budget for this year was also increased by 29 times with P5.86 billion.

“Saan mo kukunin ang lahat ng tagumpay na ito kung hindi mo malalaman ang aming proyekto,” Syjuco also said.

In 2004, TESDA also had seven courses offered with set standards. But in year 2008 it increased by 31 times with 215 courses offered.

In October 2008, the public awareness of TESDA was 91 percent, but with the infomercial the public awareness increased to 99 percent.

Syjuco also explained other gains of TESDA saying that its infomercial was very effective and very favorable not only to the said office but also to the government.

“Hindi po porke’t may infomercial ay tatakbo na sa election. Hindi po ako tatakbo,” Syjuco stressed. “Hindi na po kami makikipag-away, hindi na po kami makikipag-argue, we will just stop our infomercial.”

However, Syjuco noted that if private commercial companies and other agencies wish to sponsor information drive for TESDA, they will continue to provide information on what the public should know.