DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Aiming to revive and strengthen the human resource linkages within the BIMP-EAGA, a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) forum is pursued to encourage multi-sector collaboration in technical education, training, and vocational industries within the sub-region.

Organized as a side event to the upcoming 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders' Meeting, the forum which is slated on October 22 at the Seda Hotel here in this city, will gather more than 50 leaders and human resource enablers from EAGA-member countries.

"We cannot stress enough the significant contributions of a skilled and globally competitive human resource in economic development, and we hope to facilitate open exchanges of ideas on how to further strengthen the TVET sector in BIMP-EAGA during this forum," said TVET Forum organizer Joji Ilagan-Bian, who is also the founding chair of the Mindanao TVET Association.

Bian added that a new and strengthened collaboration among BIMP-EAGA's TVET leaders will further expand the employment opportunities for Mindanao and Palawan's TVET graduates. The two key islands are Philippines' focus areas for BIMP-EAGA.

"More than a decade ago, we had a BIMP-EAGA Human Resource Development working group, solely focusing on enhancing the competencies and income of the sub-region's workforce. We are confident that this forum will revive that initiative," said Janet Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority.

The BIMP-EAGA sub-economic cooperation serves as a test-bed for ASEAN protocols and is seen as a significant building block towards achieving ASEAN Integration in 2015. Through the Mutual Recognition Arrangements for the services sector, ASEAN member-countries commit to recognize the education or experience including licenses and certifications granted by the Philippine Government to its overseas workers.

Among the expected results of the forum are joint-venture agreements on TVET initiatives within the BIMP-EAGA particularly on student and faculty exchanges, trade skills competitions and the mutual recognition of skills standards among EAGA-member countries.

"We must in a way be able to respond to the various competing labor demands, which will likely emerge within the next 20 years, both here and abroad," Lopoz said while adding, "the international forum could also facilitate increased socio-cultural exchange in BIMP-EAGA."

The 2nd BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders' Meeting is slated from October 23-26 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City.

BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippine East ASEAN Growth Area while the IMT-GT stand for Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle. Top business leaders from these five countries are expected to converge during the four-day event, with the overall goal of promoting trade, investment, and tourism within the ASEAN region

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