UPDATE: This post won the Most Creative Blog award during TESDA’s National Blogging Contest in August 2012.
Do you remember Leo and Eugene?
I interviewed them early this year for a feature story for Philippine Information Agency. I hoped then that their story will inspire more Filipinos who are struggling to find stable jobs to follow in Leo’s and Eugene’s footsteps.
TESDA’s current slogan is: “Sa Tesda, May Choice Ka!” It’s true. Read on to find out why:
Eugene Tero (left) and Leo Enriquez (right) are graduates of TESDA in Dumaguete City. They left sometime in June this year to work in a meat processing company in Australia.
When they started working there, Leo told me on Facebook that they are butchering 6,500 lambs everyday in their company’s plant. My jaw nearly dropped. But do you know how much they are earning in Australia? Their monthly salary is equivalent to about P180,000 for a four-year contract!
That’s a long way from the drug addiction days of Leo, and the painful years of trying to make ends meet for Eugene whose parents abandoned him and his sister, a special child.
When they shared their stories with me, I can’t help but be inspired. Leo found the courage to free himself from illegal drugs. I’ve interviewed recovering drug addicts before and they always tell me that stopping the habit is one of the hardest things they had to do.
Leo was working for BJMP when he got hooked to drugs. He lied to his wife, ignored his family’s pleas, and emptied his house of belongings to sell them off so he can buy drugs. Leo soon realized he needed serious help and voluntarily joined a drug rehabilitation center where he cleaned up his act.
On the other hand, Eugene and his older sister were abandoned by their parents after the couple split when Eugene was 5 years old. This left Eugene vulnerable to vices. When he married in 2005, and after dabbling in short-term online jobs, he began to find a more stable source of income.
TESDA brought these two men together. They enrolled in TESDA’s skills training course on slaughtering through the Training for Work School Program (TWSP). The course trained them on the standard slaughtering procedures of livestock, e.g. flaying, brisket cutting, and evisceration.
After graduating, Eugene and Leo honed their slaughtering skills at the Dumaguete City Slaughterhouse. To increase their chances of finding work abroad, Eugene put up videos demonstrating his and Leo’s skills on Youtube.
Now, both men, with their wives, are settling in their own homes in Australia. Eugene and Leo are among the success stories of TESDA.
During my interview, they frequently stated how much they are grateful to TESDA for helping them become modern-day heroes to support their families.
A couple of days ago, Leo tagged me in a photo of him in his shiny new car on his way to buy groceries. When I saw the picture (below) I silently said: “Way to go, Leo!”
TESDA made their and their families’ dreams come true.
With TESDA, May Choice Ka nga talaga!
UPDATE: This is an official entry to TESDA’s Blogging Contest 2012.