Hire drug ‘surrenderees’ as STL collectors, minority solons urge
The minority bloc in the House of Representatives on Wednesday proposed employing the thousands of drug dependents who surrendered to authorities as collectors of the Small Town Lottery (STL).
In a press briefing, minority leader Quezon Rep. Danny Suarez said the surrender of drug dependents should not stop with rehabilitation.
“As of early October 2016, there are 734,231 drug personalities who surrendered. The said reality is, after leaving rehab, finding gainful employment will be impossible because of lack of required education and relevant experience, and their association to illegal drugs,” Suarez said.
“Thinking out of the box, we think it’s a good idea to use the street experience of these rehabilitated surrenderees to work with Small Town Lottery collectors. The option of joining STL collectors gives these surrenderees a legal means to earn a living,” he added.
Suarez said there are an estimated 3 million drug dependents who if they surrender may be employed not only to give them jobs, but to generate revenue for the country through the STL project of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“[The number of] confirmed shabu [users] is about 3 million. Kunyare i-rehab, anong gagawin natin niyan pagkatapos ng rehab?… Isa sa mga pinakamalaking employer ng gobyerno ang PCSO (After they are rehabilitated, what would they do?…The government is one of the biggest employers),” Suarez said.
Suarez said there is a need to give former drug dependents with a legitimate source of income to prevent them from going back to drugs.
Asked why he would propose gambling as a solution, Suarez said gambling is a way of life that could give job opportunities to the poor.
“It’s a question of social orientation… It’s more of a social action. Ang reality is, ito ang isang posisyon na malilinis ang illegal activities, kikita ang gobyerno, magkaka-trabaho ang mga tao at magkakaroon ng future ang mga rehab (The reality is this is a position where illegal activities are cleansed, the government earns, the people gain livelihood and those rehabilitated would have a future),” Suarez said.
For his part, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said it would be a waste of time and government resources if former drug dependents would not be given a productive activity to distract them from going back to substance abuse.
“Itong aming (Our) proposal is a real positive step to provide post-rehabilitation.. Para tuloy tuloy na ang rehab. Yung mga hindi nagkakaroon ng trabaho at hindi nagkakaroon ng productive activity, bumabalik uli, nagiging drug addict uli (So that rehabilitation continues. Those who don’t have jobs and productive activities go back to being addicts),” Atienza said.
“Lesson learned is to provide activity post-rehab, otherwise, we’re wasting our time,” he added.
According to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the “Oplan Tokhang,” or the police operation of knocking on doors and pleading in residential areas, has resulted in the surrender of 732,115 drug personalities, 52,812 pushers and 679,303 users. CDG
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