Senate bill seeks smooth reintegration of reformed drug users in PH workforce

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has filed a bill seeking to ensure gainful employment for rehabilitated drug users and grant incentives to companies who hire them. 

In filing Senate Bill No. 2276, Estrada said it is imperative for the government to provide incentives to establishments that would employ rehabilitated drug dependents who are graduates of technical-vocational education and training (TVET) programs specifically designed for them will provide reformed drug users a holistic support system for their re-integration to society.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment noted there is a large number of drug dependents who are willing to undergo treatment and rehabilitation which is a clear sign that they intend to lead normal and better lives.
Citing records from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Estrada said there were already 3,865 admission in 70 treatment and rehabiliation facilities in the country.
“It is, therefore, important to sustain the support that is being provided to them and expand its scope to include skills training and productivity enhancement that will prepare them to be self-reliant and qualified for gainful employment,” Estrada said in the explanatory note of the bill. 
“This will not only improve their families’ economic conditions, but also contribute to the country’s development,” he stressed.
In the bill, Estrada is proposing a collaboration between the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in developing TVET programs specifically created for rehabilitated drug dependents. 
The senator noted that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has been providing training and livelihood scholarships to former drug dependents since 2016. In 2021, 8,200 of the 8,700 or 94 percent of former drug dependents already graduated from various courses from TESDA. 
According to Estrada, the bill specifically aims to institutionalize TESDA’s TVET and other livelihood programs for rehabilitated drug dependents to ensure continuity of the program and the provision of adequate funding for its implementation.
“This will provide them with a holistic support system for their re-integration in the society,” Estrada said.