Press Release
August 3, 2023

Bong Go bats for TVET, livelihood programs for rehabilitated drug dependents to help them reintegrate into society and become productive citizens again

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2115 to provide rehabilitated drug dependents the opportunity to reintegrate into society.

"Nakikita naman po sa datos na napakarami na po talaga ang nasira ang buhay nang dahil sa iligal na droga. Huwag po natin hayaan tuluyang masayang ang buhay ng mga drug dependents na patuloy na tumatalikod sa iligal na gawain," Go said.

The Senate Committee on Higher, Technical, and Vocational Education conducted a public hearing on August 1, Tuesday, to discuss the measure.

Go quoted the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002, which declares it as a policy of the State to "provide effective mechanisms or measures to reintegrate into society individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dangerous drug dependence through sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation."

Aligning himself with the views of former President Rodrigo Duterte, Go believes in the unrelenting and relentless campaign against illegal drugs, coupled with the responsibility to help and rescue drug dependents victimized by drug criminals and syndicates.

"Kaagapay nito ay ang responsibilidad na tulungan at sagipin ang mga drug dependents na nabibiktima ng mga drug criminals at syndicates," he said.

Go pointed out the stark reality of numerous lives ruined due to illegal drugs, which is evident from the available data.

Emphasizing that drug addicts should be treated as victims in desperate need of medical, psychological, and spiritual assistance, he argued that the ultimate goal should be to reintegrate them back into society as healthy and productive citizens.

"Dapat bigyan po natin sila ng pagkakataong makapag-bagong buhay. These individuals should be given a chance to start anew," Go said.

In line with this, Go has filed SBN 2115, aimed at institutionalizing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as well as a livelihood program specifically designed for rehabilitated drug dependents.

He argued that making the TVET and livelihood program a standard part of the recovery journey could help these individuals rebuild their lives, stay involved in the community, and find meaningful employment.

Go highlighted the importance of sustainable rehabilitation and reformation programs for those who have battled drug addiction.

Such programs, according to Go, are vital to promoting a more inclusive and compassionate society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed and thrive.

He expressed optimism that the proposed bill will offer rehabilitated drug dependents a new lease on life and a second chance to realize their potential and become productive citizens.

"Ako po ay naniniwala na sa bawat indibidwal na matutulungan natin, mas malapit nating makakamit ang isang mas ligtas at maunlad na lipunan," Go said.

The proposed SBN 2115, if enacted into law, shall institutionalize the TVET and livelihood program to ensure its sustainability and effective reach to its target beneficiaries. The program under the bill will focus on competitive and employable skills that can be acquired and developed by rehabilitated drug dependents to enhance their ability to find gainful employment and entrepreneurial livelihood opportunities.

Moreover, the Department of Labor and Employment will provide incentives to companies that employ rehabilitated drug dependents who have undergone the TVET and livelihood program.

Emphasizing the need for mandatory rehabilitation centers across the country as part of the effort to eliminate illegal drugs, the legislator introduced SBN 428. This bill aims to create a Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in every province nationwide. Earlier, the Commission on Human Rights had expressed its support for Go's initiative.

Recently, Go echoed the importance of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos' initiative to combat illegal drugs, which was highlighted during the second State of the Nation Address (SONA). The senator, in an interview, praised the President's commitment to continuing the war on drugs campaign initiated by former President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I'm hopeful na 'yung kanyang mga binitawang salita, mga pangako ay maisakatuparan... yung kampanya laban sa iligal na droga, though different approach nga po ito, ang importante po'y labanan natin ang iligal na droga at ayaw natin na masayang 'yung inumpisahan ni dating Pangulong Duterte na labanan po ang iligal na droga. Dahil 'pag bumalik po ang iligal na droga babalik po ang korapsyon sa gobyerno, babalik po ang kriminalidad," said Go.

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