Co-operatives in the Philippines are joining a venture which will train reformed drug users in massage therapy to help their rehabilitation.
Local authorities and the health sector in Davao City have also joined the project, spearheaded by Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and eight other co-ops.
A memorandum of agreement to create the venture was signed with Davao Doctors College, Santa Ana Police Station, Davao City Cooperative Development Council, and the district authority Barangay Tomas Monteverde Sr.
The other co-ops on the project include Manuel Guianga and Sirib Growers and Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (MAGSIGE MPC), Toril Community Cooperative, Santa Ana Multipurpose Cooperative (SAMULCO), and Davao Accountants Multipurpose Cooperative (DAMUCO).
Also taking part are the Police Regional Office 11 Multipurpose Cooperative (PRO 11 MPC), Eagle Multipurpose Cooperative, King Cooperative and Independent Cooperative Movement of Employees of Davao (INCOME DAVAO) – the co-operative of the employees of Davao Light and Power Co. and other business units of the AboitizPower.
The first 20 trainees come from Barangay Tomas Monteverde Sr and will be taught at Agdao Elementary School.
Davao City, on the country’s southernmost island Mindanao, gained notoriety last year when its former mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, was elected president and gave a speech calling on people to “kill” drug addicts and traffickers.
But he has denied involvement in alleged vigilante killings in the city between 1998 and 2008.
Critics of his war on drugs say he has exaggerated the scale of drug use in Davao.