/ 7 July 2023

SENATOR Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada filed a measure that seeks to provide incentives to companies that will hire reformed drug users.

“Providing incentives to establishments that will employ rehabilitated drug dependents who are graduates of technical-vocational education and training programs specifically designed for them will provide reformed drug users a holistic support system for their re-integration to society,” Estrada said.

Senate Bill 2276 will institutionalize the programs, ensuring their continuity and providing sufficient funding for their implementation, he added.

Estrada also proposed collaboration between the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment in developing TVET programs specifically for rehabilitated drug dependents.

The TVET and livelihood programs shall focus on equipping individuals with competitive and employable skills, enhancing their chances of finding sustainable employment or pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities.

Estrada said TESDA has been providing training and livelihood scholarships to former drug dependents since 2016.

In 2021, 94 percent or 8,200 of the 8,700 former drug dependents graduated.

“This is enough indication of the willingness of a large percentage of former drug dependents to lead better lives. It’s 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.

“This will not only improve their families’ economic conditions but will also contribute to the country’s development,” he added.