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Gatchalian: Integrate ALS into gov’t drug rehab programs

VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Inmates and their Alternative Learning System (ALS) teacher engage in a lively discussion at the Valenzuela City Jail as they tackle English language proficiency, in this 2011 file image. Then City Mayor Win Gatchalian initiated the integration of ALS as a vital aid in character transformation among inmates. Now a senator, Gatchalian is pushing the program as a perfect complement to drug rehabilitation measures. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian on Tuesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to pursue the integration of alternative learning system (ALS) opportunities into government-run drug rehabilitation programs.

“I believe that inspiring recovering drug dependents with hope for a better future through education will strengthen their resolve to overcome their addictions. Hope is a powerful anti-drug,” said Gatchalian, who serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

The senator explained that module-based ALS lessons would be a perfect complement to drug rehab programs because they can be tailored to fit around the schedule of medical treatments and other anti-addiction activities.

He also proposed the integration, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), of technical-vocational learning into rehab programs for drug dependents who have already earned a high school degree or equivalent certification.

“The vast majority of the 1.3 million drug personalities who have surrendered to authorities since July 2016 are poor Filipinos who never had the chance to secure a quality education. Poverty drove them to drugs. Now, education can lead them away from temptation and help them get their lives back on track,” Gatchalian said.

“The knowledge and skills learned during their rehab programs will arm these former drug dependents with the tools necessary to become productive members of society once more,” he added.