GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 July) – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 is set to forge an agreement with the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) for the rollout of skills trainings for drug personalities who have surfaced in parts of the region.
Chief Supt. Cedrick Train, Region 12 police director, said they are currently finalizing the details of the proposed memorandum of agreement (MOA) in coordination with TESDA in Region 12.
He said the move is mainly for the inclusion of the surfacing drug personalities in the area as among the priorities for the technical-vocational and other skills training scholarships being offered by TESDA.
“We’re now working on the draft of the MOA and we will sign it as soon as it is finalized,” he said in a media forum.
The official said the initiative will be one of the key components of the PRO-12’s newly launched Project DUTERTE, which stands for Drug Use and Trafficking Elimination through Rehabilitation, Training and Enforcement.
It was formally launched last week in support of the anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Train said they are prioritizing the partnership with TESDA to address the lack of stable livelihood and employment opportunities faced by drug personalities, specifically drug pushers and users, who have so far surfaced.
He said such problem came out during the initial profiling conducted by police stations and offices in the region.
“Most of them were forced to go into illegal activities because of poverty. They lack education and skills needed to find decent jobs,” he said.
Aside from TESDA, he said they will also partner with the Department of Education for its Alternative Learning System and local government units for other support programs or interventions.
But Train clarified that the skills trainings under TESDA may only be availed by the surfacing drug personalities.
He said those who voluntarily surrendered but with pending cases are required to undergo the legal processes and will have separate interventions.
As of Friday, Train said a total of 7,626 drug personalities have already surfaced and surrendered voluntarily to authorities in the entire region.
He said they expect the figures to increase in the coming weeks with the full implementation of Project DUTERTE.
Project DUTERTE “aims to bring to the fold of law those who are involved in the use and proliferation of illegal drugs.”
It will facilitate their rehabilitation through various programs in coordination with TESDA, local government units and other concerned stakeholders.
The program will include skills enhancement and personality development trainings to help the beneficiaries secure jobs to support their families and divert them from illegal drug-related activities.