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    Posted February 19, 2014 by

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    Phl to the rescue of ex-prisoners

    SINCE employers are reluctant to hire former prisoners because of their criminal past, a Philippine lawmaker on Wednesday filed a bill that would bring them back into the mainstream of society by providing them gainful work for their families.
    Authored by Rep. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo, House Bill 3268 seeks to institute a Former Prisoners' Employment Program for former inmates after serving their prison terms.
    "Statistics reveal, sad to say, that former prisoners have a slimmer chance to being employed after serving their prison terms," Arroyo lamented, adding that it is necessary for government to set a program to enable these ex-inmates find decent works.
    HB 3268 also seeks to create a Committee on Employment Opportunities for Former Prisoners (CEOFP) under the Department of Justice, which is tasked to draft the implementing rules and regulations for the training and employment of former prisoners.
    Likewise, the proposed statute seeks to provide incentives to private establishment hiring inmates through an additional deduction from gross income, equivalent to fifteen percent of total amount paid as salaries and wages to former prisoners.
    "We are optimistic that through this bill, there is a practical option to make life easier and productive for former prisoners by making employment opportunities available and accessible so that they may enjoy their gained freedom and life after incarceration meaningful," Arroyo stressed.
    The CEOFP shall be headed by a Chairman and assisted by a Vice Chairman, who shall both be appointed by the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. The Committee shall have a Technical Service Arm to assist it to carry out its duties and functions.
    Arroyo pointed out that former prisoners, once they are out and back in mainstream society, are considered at a crossroad in life, raring to be reunited with their loved ones but more importantly, aching to find gainful work to provide for their families.
    He said most, if not all, employers are reluctant to hire former prisoners because of their criminal past, making it extra difficult for them to reform and reintegrate into society.
    "Given that life inside prison is more than enough punishment for their trespasses against society, it is unfair, once they are out of prison, if they are unjustly denied of a decent source of livelihood brought about by the stigma of their delinquent past," Arroyo concluded.
    The bill proposed an initial amount of P100 million to be allocated for the first year of its implementation and the amount necessary to carry out the same shall be included in the General Appropriations Act.
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