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More than 200 drug surrenderers get free livelihood training in QC



Two hundred ninety-one drug surrenderees in Quezon City have completed a skills and livelihood training program initiated by the city government and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on Friday.

In a statement issued Saturday, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said the program was intended to equip the drug suspects and their families with practical skills to start a livelihood or small business.

“We do not judge you because of your past. We’re here to help you get back to your feet, that’s why we have provided you with these simple, short courses that you will really find useful in starting your own livelihood,” she said.

The program included one-day courses like balloon decor-making, candy-making, soap-making, meat processing, and home bread-making.

“Ito ay mga simpleng matutunan pero may pera sa mga ganitong kasanayan. With these new knowledge and skills you can start your life anew,” Belmonte said.

The graduates received training certificates and starter kits consisting of the basic implements and supplies corresponding to each trainee’s course.

Christian Bautista, officer-in-charge of the QC Skills and Livelihood Foundation, Inc., said the first batch of drug suspect-beneficiaries were from Barangays Old Balara, Quirino 3-A, Quirino 2-B, Pansol, E. Rodriguez, Bungad, San Vicente, Kaligayahan, Escopa III, Pasong Tamo, and Sangandaan.

As the head of the QC Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC), Belmonte said she is focusing on the rehabilitation of 16,000 drug dependents who have surrendered to the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC) and the QC Police District (QCPD) through the “Oplan Tokhang” of the Philippine National Police.

Belmonte said 500 former drug dependents who completed QCADAAC's community-based drug rehabilitation program were subsequently taken out of the drug watch list.

They were then hired as laborers in the ongoing construction of the Metro Rail Transit System Line 7 last February.

Belmonte added that the QCADAAC has signed an agreement with San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for the employment of reformed drug dependents who have surrendered to the city government and the QCPD.

Through its subsidiary Universal LRT Corporation BVI, SMC was selected by the Department of Transportation to build the 22.8-kilometer, P62.7-billion MRT Line 7 project, which will take at least three years to finish.

Ma. Teresa Montemayor / PNA