Hanney Lou Quiamjot virtually grew up on the streets, where he can be seen even in the wee hours of the night with his gang.
I had no clear direction in life. We stayed on the streets until dawn. Oftentimes we were engaged in riots with other gangs and would end up in jail, Quiamjot said.
Quiamjot is one of the many former gang members who managed to make a turnaround and became productive individuals under the "Project Gangnam" of the Butuan City Police Office (BCPO).
Under the program, BCPO partners with the local government, national line agencies, and local businesses to provide vocational and livelihood training to former gang members.
BCPO and its partners would then match successful trainees to local employers, or help them start a business of their own.
Quiamjot, now 23, graduated from the program in 2018 and is now a certified welder after completing the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
He now works as a full-time welder at a local establishment and is thinking about finding work overseas.
Aside from my regular work, I also receive calls for welding works in our community. I thank the BCPO for the guidance and the opportunity to change my life, Quiamjot said.
Quiamjot is one of the many former gang members who got a new lease on life under the police-initiated project.
Source: Philippines News Agency