MANILA (Mabuhay) — Since employers are reluctant to hire former prisoners, it is necessary for government to set a program to enable these ex-inmates find gainful work to provide for their families, a lawmaker Wednesday said.
“Statistics reveal, sad to say, that former prisoners have a slimmer chance to being employed after serving their prison terms,” Rep. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo said.
Arroyo, with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as co-author, through HB 3268, is seeking to institute a Former Prisoners’ Employment Program.
HB 3268 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 15 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,” according to the authors.
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.
“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 said.
The authors are proposing 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. (MNS)