TESDA: Gov’t’s ally in drug abuse prevention, rehabilitation

MANILA-- As a support to the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has issued a mandate of not just provide skills training to former drug dependents, but also institutionalize drug abuse prevention and post-rehabilitation programs in both the Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) and TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs).

TESDA recognizes President Rodrigo Duterte's desire to integrate efforts and strengthen partnerships among stakeholders in the fight against illegal drugs.

On August 2016, TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong directed all public and private TTIs and TVIs to create an environment that would boost drug abuse prevention.

To do this, the TVIs and TTIs were instructed to provide skills training programs to the fully-rehabilitated drug dependents, as well as to the immediate family members of drug dependents, who were heads of the family, while the person drug dependents were undergoing rehabilitation.

Both the TTIs and TVIs were also asked to provide drug education to their trainees. Here, the TVIs and TTIs were allowed to invite as resource persons some people from the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine National Police, and other law enforcement agencies.

In conducting drug education, the adverse effects of abuse and misuse of illegal drugs should be highlighted. Preventive measures, implications of drugs on health, socio-cultural and psychological aspects are among the things that should be tackled.

Furthermore, the discussion should include the misconceptions on the use of illegal drugs (e.g. dangerous drugs have therapeutic use).

Post-rehabilitation services should also be provided to drug dependents who had undergone full medical and psychotherapeutic treatment.

During the post-rehabilitation, TESDA regional directors coordinate with the DOH regional offices in selecting prospective trainees from their list of fully-rehabilitated and released drug dependents.

These former drug dependents who will enroll in training programs are required to undergo career profiling.

More about the training program

Like other TESDA graduates, former drug dependents are also referred to various job and entrepreneurship programs of the local government, the Department of Labor and Employment, as well as private companies.

We help them find jobs, TESDA told the Philippine News Agency.

It noted that even if the graduates would opt for self-employment, the TTIs and TVIs provide referrals to government institutions and non-government organizations to help them gain business development support.

With regard to family members who would avail of the training program, assessment and certification, they just need to submit a DOH certification that they are immediate family members of a drug dependent undergoing rehabilitation.

TESDA said the budget for this training program for drug dependents comes from the regular funds of the TTIs, and from available scholarship programs and other financial assistance.

To ensure the smooth flow of this program, the TESDA central office was asked to conduct regular capacity building programs on drug abuse and prevention for the lead trainers.

TVIs and TTIs were also asked to send a monthly report of the program activities undertaken.

Based on the consolidated reports from TESDA regional offices, there were a total of 8,199 trainees under this initiative from August 2016 to March 2017.

Region 4B had the highest number of trainees (1,549) during that period, while Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) had the lowest number of trainees totaling to 46.

It can also be noted that CAR, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Regions 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 12 had zero enrollees from January to March 2017.

Source: Philippines News Agency