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MOA gives drug surrenderers a chance to start over

/ 03:40 AM November 11, 2016

More than a hundred drug surrenderers in Pasig City may soon be trained and hired as construction workers and craftsmen after authorities signed a joint memorandum of agreement (MOA) with a private company on Thursday.

According to the MOA signed by the Eastern Police District (EPD), the Pasig City government, Rotary Club with the Philippine Constructors Association-Metropolitan Chapter (PCAM) represented by Elnardo Bolivar, and qualified beneficiaries will be given work either as welders and pipe fitters, carpenters, mason plumbers, sanitary workers and electricians.

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The four-year contract for the reintegration project could benefit some of the 3,569 drug suspects who earlier surrendered to authorities under the government’s “Oplan Tokhang” program.

The agreement is a joint project of city officials led by Mayor Robert Eusebio, the EPD led by Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, the Rotary Club of Pasig  Inc., the Antidrug Abuse Council of Pasig (Adcop) and the Pasig City Institute of Science and Technology.

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According to Sapitula, the MOA resulted from his talks with the Rotary Club about the need to help the surrenderers. “Without jobs, they would just go back to their old ways,” he said in an earlier interview.

Under the agreement, the EPD shall identify the candidates for the project. To qualify, one must be a Pasig City resident, has voluntarily surrendered, has no outstanding arrest warrant or criminal case, is not a recidivist, has undergone drug rehabilitation and is interested to work. Big-time drug pushers and heavy drug users will not be accepted.

Surrenderers proven to have gone back to their old ways will automatically be dropped from the program, according to the MOA.

Aida Concepcion, Adcop head, said that of the 80 initial qualifiers for the first batch, 54 had already submitted resumes while 48 others in the second batch had forwarded their applications.

Successful applicants will undergo 140 hours of technical skills training, including masonry, welding and carpentry works, among others, at the  Pasig City Institute of Science and Technology. The Pasig City government will pay the training fee aside from providing the successful applicants a transportation allowance.

At the same time, however, the beneficiaries will continue to undergo the necessary counseling and value formation programs, Concepcion said.

At the end of the training, the PCAM shall be in charge of assigning to companies the top 80 qualifiers.

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TAGS: “Oplan Tokhang” program, drug surrenderers, Eastern Police District, Elnardo Bolivar, memorandum of agreement, MOA, Pasig City, PCAM, Rotary Club with the Philippine Constructors Association-Metropolitan Chapter
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