Persons deprived of liberty(PDLs) at the Baguio City Jail still connect with their families even outside the city, thanks to the electronic or e-dalaw program of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
Jail Officer 1 Eric Mendoza of the Baguio City Jail - Male Dorm Operations Division said that more PDLs or residents of the city jail facility particularly those who were not visited by their loved ones during the holiday season still get to chance to talk and see their families thru the e-dalaw service.
The e-dalaw service is an alternative to the traditional face-to-face visitation between PDL and their respective families. The e-dalaw enables the PDLs to connect with their families through a supervised chat and video call.
The program was conceptualized specifically to cater to PDLs whose family members cannot go to the jail for actual visit because of the long distance from the residence or workplace.
Inside the jail facility, several computer units are set up at their e-dalaw area which can cater to at least 20 PDLs at a time. The management provides schedules to all the residents who would avail and they are given at least an hour a day to talk to their loved ones using video call and chat via social media messenger only.
The conversations are strictly monitored by the jail guards. There are only limited sites that they could search thru the internet and the units are restricted for safety and security purposes.
Mendoza explained that the e-dalaw service was being provided by the BJMP in the past years, but its importance was recognized more during the COVID-19 pandemic with the lockdowns restricting movements in the entire country.
During the recent Yuletide season, while face-to-face visitation has been allowed in the city jail facility, more PDLs still used the e-dalaw service to reconnect with their loved ones
“Matagal na ang e-dalaw pero nung nag onset ng pandemic, mas naging useful sya lalo na noong panahon na wala nang face-to-face at contact visitations sa jail facilities. Noong nag lockdown e-dalaw na ang pinaka resort nila para makausap nila (PDLs) ang family nila sa labas,” Mendoza said
The e-dalaw service is also a way to provide a sound mental health and psychological status among the PDLs especially with the pandemic, according to Mendoza. He explained that even if they are locked up in the facility, the PDLs are not deprived to a healthier body and mind since the mental health and psychological support to the PDLs since the pandemic has been the utmost concern of the BJMP.
“Ang e-dalaw ay isa sa mga ways para mastrengthen natin ang psychological at mental health lalo na kapag nakakausap nila ang mga kapamilya nila sa labas,” Mendoza said.
“Lalo na dito sila naka detain tapos tatanggalin pa natin ang privilege nilang yun. At least pag nandito sila at nakakausap ang mga kapamily nila sa labas, namemaintain natin ang relationship nila, pati na din ang kanilang mental health ay maayos,” he added.
For PDLs whose families have no internet connection or no means to conduct online conversations, Mendoza said that the BJMP also provides phones as a means of communication to their family members as well.
Alyas Redman, a PDL of the city jail, said that he is very thankful for the e-dalaw service as he is given chance to check on her daughter who is in Region 3. He is one of the more than 400 PDLs at the city jail and a regular user of the e-dalaw service .
Now on his second year at the jail facility, Redman has not been visited by his loved ones as they are the other provinces but thru the e-dalaw service, he can to still talk to them and have a chance to see her daughter grow even when he is locked up.(JDP/ RMC- PIA-CAR)