By Jel Santos
In a bid to improve their lives, 114 drug rehab graduates from Valenzuela City are all set to take up a financial management seminar on June 16 before they start their small businesses, a city official said.
On May 10, 142 self-confessed drug users completed their six-month rehabilitation program at the Central Luzon Drug Rehab Center in Magalang, Pampang. The local government spent around P6 million for the rehabilitation of the 142 former drug users, allotting at least P40,000 per person.
After their graduation, Mayor Rexlon (Rex) Gatchalian promised that the local government will help the graduates land a job or start a small business of their own.
Rhay Souza, Valenzuela City Public Employment Service Office (PESO) head, said 114 of the graduates have chosen to start their own businesses. Meanwhile, the other 28 decided to look for jobs.
“Before the city government helps them get a loan from a local cooperative here, we want them first to learn to manage their money and businesses,” Souza said.
He said the local government will shoulder the membership fee of the graduates in order to join the cooperative, saying it will cost around P1 million.
Souza added Valezuela City wants the graduates to learn how to be financially independent. “Valenzuela City eyes a brighter future for that graduates, and that’s why they will not just be given a capital. We will make them a member of a local cooperative here. They could start a business, and learn the value of hard work,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 28 graduates who want to find work were given P1 000 each. The PESO head said the money would be utilized for transportation needs as the graduates go around applying for jobs.
After their graduation, the 142 drug rehab students will still be monitored and tested from time to time to ensure that they will not revert to drug dependency.