The computer training program of the Philippine Consulate General on Saipan and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office has found a new home.
The Saipan Building and Fixing Computer Users Group, which volunteered to continue this program once the Consulate shuts down after Oct. 31, presented the new training venue to Consul General Medardo G. Macaraig and Guam Consul Edgar Tomas Q. Auxilian last Oct. 7.
Founding chair Mar V. Masilungan said Friday that one of their members, Nestor Tumaquip, offered his residence in San Vicente as a place where the group can continue to offer one of the more well-received training programs of the consulate.
Masilungan said the venue can accommodate up to 30 students in a class, and is free of charge. But students will be asked to contribute $1 per class to cover the cost of utilities, and Masilungan said a sub-meter has been set up so the group can monitor the electricity consumption of the training program.
He said members of the SBFCUG took three weekends to complete the painting and electrical jobs needed to make the place look like a real computer class venue.
“It's really in our hearts to continue this training program even after the closure of the consulate. There is a great need for information technology training here on island,” Masilungan told Saipan Tribune.
He said the SBFCUG eyes conducting the training classes on weekends or same as the consulate's previous schedule, but the hours would depend on the available schedule of the volunteer instructors.
Besides Masilungan, who works for White Coconut Computer Services, other instructors are Zaldy Quebral of Pacific Amusement and Jousel Regilme of O'Connor Berman Dotts & Banes law firm.
While the group has yet to announce officially the start of their training program, Masilungan said they already received a lot of inquiries from community members. He said they are looking at starting the training next month.
Auxilian, in a separate interview, confirmed that he and Macaraig visited the new training site last Oct. 7.
“We express confidence that the computer training program will continue through the initiative and commitment of the Saipan Building and Fixing Computer Users Group,” he said.
Masilungan revealed that right before Sunday's ocular inspection, the group held a general membership meeting and some 50 members of the SBFCUG voted to revise the group's by-laws, allowing other community members from various ethnic backgrounds to avail of the free training.
“We saw the need for this kind of training, not just for Filipinos but for the community as a whole,” he said.
According to Masilungan, their decision to open the program to everyone was driven by the move of other non-profit groups to conduct workforce training, and SBFCUG is capable of handling the computer training program.
He noted, however, that there will be a screening committee composed of the group's officials to determine which among interested individuals are more qualified to receive the training based on a set of criteria yet to be established by SBFCUG.
Masilungan also said they will ask the Guam Consulate to sign the certificates that will be given to the trainees who will complete the training program.
To sign up for the training or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.