MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP-7) ended its celebrations of this year’s National Correctional Consciousness Week (NACOCOW) with compact events and the weeklong Product Display and Art Exhibit from October 24-30 ended with a bang having total sales of P126,452.00 from the products, crafts and art of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) coming from the 19 jails in the region that participated in the exhibit.
“We are celebrating this Correctional Consciousness nationwide bringing to fore the activities and programs of the BJMP to the PDLs involving them through the display and exhibits of their products, crafts and arts and in the realization of their dreams to a have families and sustainable income upon release from the jails,” JSupt. Rosalina Malahay said, adding that NACOCOW 2022 is the first face to face celebration here after a hiatus of two years due to the pandemic.
Malahay bared that 40 jails joined in celebrating NACOCOW 2022 in their respective provinces in Central Visayas with various events that included information drive campaign to the communities. Other activities such as sports fest, larong lahi, talent show and parlor games were conducted inside the jails while beauty pageants were also done in female dormitories.
According to JSupt. Elsie Eireen Alcomendras the BJMP serves as the catalyst of the PDLs transformation through the experiences they have from the various programs that are available to them while inside jails and hopefully become part of nation building upon their release from jails.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG-7) regional director Leocadio Trovela lauded the BJMP7 in launching this year’s NACOCOW in the mall, here at the Pacific Mall in Mandaue City with the Product Display and Art Exhibit of PDLs works, crafts and art.
“It is a perfect idea and a venue to bring awareness to the public/mall goers that we at the DILG and the BJMP belong to a family that takes care of the well-being of the PDLs. Dapat sa malls and mga launching of events such as these,” Trovela said.
Trovela went on that for the PDLs to transform and become law abiding citizens of the country, the government provides them with programs and other projects to keep them busy and to provide opportunities for their creativity and crafts as well as earn livelihood income while inside jails.
He cited the Product Display and Art Exhibit as a testimony for the government’s resolve for the PDLs to become holistic, crime-free individuals and to live a successful life when they go back to their respective communities.
“Today, this is an event where the PDLs showcased their works, paintings and creativity while they are in Jail, sending a strong message that there is still a chance for the PDLs to live better crime-free lives outside of jails,” Trovela added.
According to Malahay in her closing remarks that this year’s NACOCOW theme “Mataas na Kalidad ng Serbisyong Pampiitan, Pagbabago ng PDL Tiyak Makakamtan, recognizes the importance of linkages and collaborative engagements with the private and public sectors.
Various welfare and developmental activities were being conducted inside the jail facility making them ready for their eventual release and reintegration into society. Some of the programs include Alternative Learning System in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Skills Training provided by TESDA, and livelihood activities are introduced so that they can earn during incarcerations, Malahay bared.
Challenges the BJMP and PDLs face
Once the PDLs are scheduled for release, they are being turned over to the local government unit or Barangay, some are also referred to NGOs or companies for possible work or employment.
JSupt Thomas Augustine Catarata, BJMP7 regional Chaplin revealed that some of the nagging challenges the BJMP and the PDLs face include the passive and lack of community acceptance of the PDLs when they are release from jails and lack of opportunities where they can be hired for employment based on their skills and expertise while in jail.
“Basically, PDLs go back home to their families and communities. Their lack of confidence to assimilate or adapt to life in society outside of jail is a greater challenge for them, especially so that 75-80 percent of PDLs are drug related and a great number of them are recidivists,” Fr. Catarata explained.
Most jails in the region do not have enough spaces where they can conduct welfare and development activities inside jails. Congestion is still high and manpower is also wanting. Decongestion of jails is a perennial challenge because the litigation of cases is long and takes years, Fr.Catarata added.