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House OKs bill institutionalizing TESDA-tech-voc training for rehabilitated drug dependents

May 15, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 216 views

THE House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that mandates the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to institutionalize technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and livelihood programs for former drug dependents who have undergone rehabilitation.

Two hundred sixty lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to approve House Bill (HB) No. 7721 or “An Act Mandating the TESDA to Design and Implement Technical-Vocational Education and Training and Livelihood Programs Specifically for Rehabilitated Drug Dependents” principally authored by Reps. Alfel Bascug, Eddiebong Plaza and Joseph “Caraps” Paduano.

“Many of our citizens who have fallen victim to illegal drugs and have successfully undergone rehabilitation find it very difficult to reintegrate into society as productive citizens not only because of the stigma but also due to the lack of skills needed to land a job,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said.

“This measure aims to help them become our partners in nation-building by contributing to the betterment of our country through self-reliance, productivity and being employed in our industries,” he added.

The measure directs the TESDA Director General to immediately include in the agency’s program and budget the design and implementation of TVET and livelihood programs that would cater specifically to former drug dependents who have undergone rehabilitation.

It also directs the TESDA, in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), to provide rehabilitated drug dependents with competitive and employable skills that shall enhance their ability to find gainful employment and livelihood opportunities.

Another key provision of the bill is that it mandates the DoLE to provide incentives to companies that employ rehabilitated drug dependents who have undergone TVET and livelihood training programs under the measure.

Under the bill, it is TESDA, in coordination with DoLE, that is tasked to promulgate rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the bill.