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Exploring new horizon for PDLs: The BJMP way

"Junjun" is optimistic that in a few months he will be integrated into the community where he originally belong. He is looking forward to putting up his small bakeshop that specializes in bread and pastry.

With the knowledge he gained during the 18-day training by TESDA at the Ballesteros District Jail (BDJ), he is confident that he can start anew with his family. Aside from having time with his family while doing a business, bread and pastry are basic needs so he believes that it will prosper.

Junjun is just one of the PDLs who are very thankful for the unlimited opportunities offered by BJMP, contrary to his thinking that the day he entered the jail was the day he will be denied of opportunities to grow and hone his potential.

BDJ Warden JSInsp. Jean Olive Unciano said she was inspired to witness the eagerness of the PDLs to learn.

Did you know that there's a mini bakery inside the jail? Prior to the pandemic, BDJ with more or less five bakers earlier trained by TESDA (but they are now reunited with their families) produce different kinds of bread with "pande coco" as their specialty. These are procured by different schools in Ballesteros and sell it in their canteens. This way, the PDLs are earning while inside the jail but during the pandemic where schools were closed, new bakers produced just enough for the jail population.

Thanks also for the support of the regional office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for complementing the training with complete set of equipment like oven, baking trays and baking tables.

But now that the economy is slowly going back to the new normal, it's timely that new sets of PDLs were trained, she said. BDJ warden JCInsp. Mark Anthony Saquing (now the warden of Tuguegarao City District Jail - Male Dormitory) said providing opportunites for PDLs while inside the jail is one of the best legacies they can provide, a breakthrough in their lives.

During his time, PDL were given the freedom to explore as several trainings and opportunities were conducted inside the jail, the same scenario in all jails in the region. Today, the 18 PDLs are hopefull, with less worries that employment will be a problem as they have acquired skills for their own small business.

For this year's training, it was the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that provided starter kits for their bakery venture.

In almost all jails under the BJMP, bonsai beads-making remains a profitable livelihood inside the jail.

Several agencies have shown support to the PDL products as these served as tokens during special occasions. Aside from offices as their regular customers, private individuals who was amazed by the craftmanship of the PDL become regular buyers using the products as tokens for baptisms, birthdays, retirement programs, among others.

In Santiago City District Jail, when PDL - artist FRP started to hold his pen and canvass, do not disturb him because he is about to create another masterpiece that an art lover will be wowed. His artworks have been sold to art lovers and also given as tokens to dignitaries, thus, a source of income for him.

As early as last week, almost all jails are already planning for their own designs and light effects of their parols as yuletide season is in the air. PDLs are already conceptualizing on what's new and unique designs for this year as in charge of offices, schools, business establishments, hospitals, town halls and parks will surely flock the jail for their orders.

The coming months will surely be a busy one, JSIns. Susan Encarnacion, the Community Relations Service (CRS) officer of the bureau said minimum public health standard is observed in all jails while they are doing their livelihood projects aside from the fact that all personnel are fully vaccinated while some received their booster shots.

The bureau she said, always looks into possibilities that will harness the potential of PDL through the intervention of various agencies like TESDA, DTI, DOLE, DA, and DepEd among others.

For Director JSSupt. Ma. Annie Espinosa, she continue to inspire and urge the bureau's personnel to do their job with excellence and to bring BJMP 2 to greater heights by rendering quality service while developing the well-being and potential of the PDLs under their care.

As such, continuous educational programs, values formation and moral recovery programs are highly practiced inside the jail through the intervention and support of different religious and faith-based groups.

Recently, 24 PDLs from Tuguegarao City Jail graduated under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program of  DepEd. 

For this year, 64 male PDL finished ALS Elementary level while  132 male and two females finished their junior high school level.l They are now ready to move to a higher level of their educational attainment.

If you believe that the jail is the saddest place on earth, it is not. If you think that those who are in jail are deprived of everything, you are wrong as many of them started to discover their potentials behind bars.

Alyas Jolina in her mid-20s said, "nagpapasalamat ako na nakulong kaming mag-asawa (yes, they are couple in the same jail but separated by bars as she is in the female dorm and her husband on the other side leaving their one year old child under the care of her father) dahil kung hindi ay patuloy kaming nalulong sa drogra at hindi ko alam kung anong kinabukasan ang naghihintay sa aming mga anak", she revealed.

Alyas Romeo also revealed that it’s his first time to hold and pray the rosary, it's only now he realized the joy in praying as he regularly attend prayer meetings.

Director Espinosa said they want to develop the full potential of the PDL making them ready for integration and this is BJMP’s way of giving them new hope, a new beginning and new life. (OTB/GVB/PIA Cagayan)

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Gene Baquiran


Region 2

I am simply amazing.

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