Employers should hire former drug dependents who finish skills-training courses under the state-run Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Tesda chief Guiling Mamondiong said on Tuesday.
In making the appeal, The Tesda director general mentioned that the agency has already provided skills training to 20,000 former drug dependents in support of the Duterte administration’s drug rehabilitation program.
“We encourage the employers to take in the former drug dependents who have the necessary skills. They are people. We have to make sure that that they are able to exercise their right of having a dignified life. We can’t close our doors on them just because they were victims of drug use. I don’t think we should make restrictions [in hiring them],” Mamondiong said.
“We are coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the Department of Social Welfare and Development to make sure that jobs and other means of livelihood will be available for the former drug dependents after they finish their skills training program,” he added.
The Duterte administration’s centerpiece program is the war on drugs, which already left at least 3,800 people dead in supposedly legitimate operations alone.
On the other hand, over a million self-confessed drug dependents have surrendered to authorities.
“We should accept them [drug dependents in the labor force]. We should not make a distinction [between those who have a history of using drugs or and those who do not]. If these drug dependents meet the skill set that we need, then they should be accepted,” Mamondiong said.
He, however, conceded that the government cannot force those in the private sector to welcome the reformed former drug dependents to its fold.
“We can do that [forge memorandum of agreement, memorandum of understanding], but we cannot force the industry to accept them because hiring people is within their [private sector’s purview)]. But we will be talking to the private sector; encourage them to accept them [former drug dependents]provided that they have the skill that the industry would need,” Mamondiong said.