Olongapo City government turns reformists to casket makers as source of income

OLONGAPO CITY — A casket manufacturing and training facility was opened here on Thursday to give employment to residents who are former users and sellers of illegal drugs but turned themselves under Oplan Tokhang.

The PHP200,000-facility which is complete with all necessary equipment, tools and materials, located inside the City Engineering Complex, was inaugurated by Mayor Rolen Paulino and members of the city council and local police office.

Paulino said the livelihood facility was conceptualized to help the indigent residents of the city who usually fell victims of illegal drugs.

“I don’t see them (illegal drug users and pushers) offenders. I see them victims,” said Paulino as he added that it is all because of poverty, lack of education to get better jobs, frustrations and other personal problems.

The mayor said it is more expensive to give PHP5,000 burial assistance to each family and that he found it wiser that the city will make caskets that it will give.

Accordingly, the livelihood facility can finish four caskets a day with 10 reformist-workers who will be trained by expert casket makers from San Matias, Santo Tomas, Pampanga who were requested by Paulino act as trainors.

The mayor warned the reformists to stop turning to drugs or they might use the caskets they made.

Meanwhile, reformist Angelito Caparas, 44, a former welder and electrician, was among the first trainees who admitted that he has no knowledge of carpentry but is willing to learn and become a responsible citizen who can provide the needs of his family.

Another reformist Gerardo Damaso, 56, expressed his excitement to begin making the casket as this is his expertise being a former building carpenter and painter.

“I am very happy that Mayor Paulino has given us a chance to reform. This time, I will try my best to become a productive person for my family,” Damaso said. PNA-northboundasia.com