TO discourage drug users from returning to their old habits after counseling and rehabilitation, Senator Cynthia Villar suggested that they undergo training in farming.
Villar believes that giving former drug dependents knowledge and skills in farming can help them change their lives and totally forget about going back to drugs.
At least 60,000 self-confessed drug users have surrendered to the Philippine National Police since the implementation of the anti-illegal drug campaign Operation Tokhang.
The senator said surrendering pushers and users should be required to undergo agricultural training after signing an oath not to go back to illegal drugs, along with counseling or a rehabilitation program.
She said they could also become beneficiaries of government scholarships in agriculture offered in accredited learning sites all over the country.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Administration (TESDA) has allotted P500 million worth of scholarships for agriculture courses for 45,000 scholars at P12,000 each.
“We have heard a lot of testimonies from individuals whose lives have changed after participating in free trainings on agriculture. This is also a livelihood opportunity for drug users who want to start anew,” Villar said.
She cited the Duran Farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan that its owner has coordinated with local government officials to offer scholarship slots in agriculture, especially for drug users who want to change and become productive citizens.
The 3.6-hectare Duran Farm is offering a two-month certificate course in agriculture production.
Similarly, the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) Farm School in Cavite also offers training programs on agriculture-related topics such as vegetable production, livestock production, mushroom production and beekeeping.
The seven-hectare Farm School has a classroom that can accommodate 300 students; two dormitories can accommodate 50 students; an administration office, staff and workers’ house; farm house; bambusetum; medicinal herbal garden; tree nursery; greenhouses; vegetable garden; livestock and aquaculture facilities.