Senate bill seeks TESDA training for rehabilitated drug dependents

(GMA NEWS) A bill seeking to institutionalize Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) technical-vocational education and training and livelihood programs for rehabilitated drug dependents has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada filed Senate Bill 2276 to provide rehabilitated drug dependents with a holistic support system for their reintegration into society.

Under the bill, TESDA, in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment, shall provide technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and livelihood programs designed specifically for rehabilitated drug dependents.

The program shall focus on competitive and employable skills that can be acquired and developed to further enhance the rehabilitated drug dependent’s ability to find gainful employment and entrepreneurial livelihood opportunities.

Through DOLE, incentives will be given to companies who shall employ rehabilitated drug dependents who finished TVET and livelihood programs proposed under the bill.

In explaining the intent of the bill, Estrada mentioned the 2022 data from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) which showed that there were 3,865 admissions in 70 treatment and rehabilitation facilities in the country.

According to DDB’s report, the 2022 data on admissions is 43% higher compared with the previous year’s cases.

The DDB attributed this to the resumption of operation by the different rehabilitation centers and the “seeming willingness of Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs) to undergo treatment and rehabilitation,” which was evident in the 40.78% voluntary submission and 29% cases who availed of plea bargaining.

“This large percentage of dependents who are willing to undergo treatment and rehabilitation is an optimistic signal that they intend to lead better lives,” Estrada said.

“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,” he added.

The lawmaker said that this will not only improve their families’ economic conditions but will also contribute to the country’s development. —Hananeel Bordey/KBK, GMA Integrated News