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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-10 and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-10 have linked arms and launched a project to help persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) lead productive lives while in detention
The project dubbed “RESTART” was formalized through a memorandum of agreement signed by the DTI-10 Regional Director Ermedio J. Abang and BJMP-10 Regional Director JCSupt. Cesar M. Langawin on Sept. 19.
Abang said the partnership institutionalizes their support to equip the PDLs with relevant skills and knowledge to foster their employability, enabling them to contribute to the communities’ social and economic growth.
Under the MoA, DTI-10 will capacitate PDLs through skills training and product development. It will also collaborate with local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to identify suitable job opportunities for PDLs upon their release, thereby, promoting their reintegration into the workforce.
Similarly, DTI will capacitate 21 BJMP livelihood program officers across the region, particularly on entrepreneurship so that the PDLs will also be taught how to run their livelihood as business enterprises.
Aside from the capacity building, Abang said DTI will help promote and market the PDLs products through regional and provincial trade fairs and e-commerce.
“This is an affirmation of the belief that every person deserves a fresh start and a chance to rebuild their lives. By providing the PDLs with access to livelihood, training, and sustainable employment prospects, we are not only empowering them but also enabling the business community as a whole,” he said.
On the part of the BJMP, it will identify livelihood program officers who will participate in the capacity-building program as well as the PDLs eligible for training and reintegration efforts.
BJMP-10 is also responsible for gathering data profiles to assess the skills and capabilities of to-be-released PDLs. Moreover, it would establish entrepreneurship and livelihood centers within its premises.
“The signing of the memorandum of agreement represents more than just ink on the paper. It symbolizes our dedication to providing PDLs with opportunities for redemption, growth, and a path towards successful reintegration into society,” said Langawin.
Accordingly, the initiative will not only contribute to the personal growth and development of the PDLs but will also provide economic opportunities upon their release from detention.
A second chance at life
BJMP-10 continues to forge partnerships with relevant government agencies to implement programs that would give PDL a second chance at life.
“We already had memorandum of agreements with TESDA, DepEd, and DAR. Naglevel-up na tayo (we have leveled up). We don’t just leave our PDLs in their cells. Tinutulungan natin sila upang sa gayon ay kahit na nakakulong sila sa ating mga piitan, kumikita pa rin sila ng pera (we are helping them so that even though they are in detention cells, they still earn money). These people who are behind bars are also the bread winners of their family, so kung tutulungan natin ang isang PDL, tinutulungan din natin ang kaniyang pamilya (so if we help a PDL, we are helping his family),“ Langawin said.
He affirmed that BJMP’s work is not only about watching the PDLs inside the jail facilities but also helping them become productive citizens.
“Binibigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon upang madevelop pa ang kanilang mga skills sa pamamagitan ng paggawa ng mga products. Yunghindi naman nakapag-aral, inienrol natin sila sa literacy program at yun namang nakapag-aral at gusto pang magtuloy ang kanilang pag-aaral we also have alternative learning system. Sa skills training naman, we have a MOA with TESDA na pwede natin silang turuan (ng skills) upang sa gayon ay paglabas nila, if they will be later fortunate na makalabas at makajoin uli sa ating community, ay meron silang skills na pwedeng gamiting upang sila ay makatrabaho,” he said.
(We allow them to further develop their skills by making products. For those who have not studied, we enroll them in the literacy program, and for those who have studied and would want to continue their studies, we also have an alternative learning system. As for skills training, we have a MOA with TESDA that we can teach them skills so that when they are out of jail, they will be later fortunate to get out and rejoin our community, equipped with skills for employment).
Langawin said their rehabilitative and reformation programs are one way of easing the boredom of PDLs while inside the jail facility and encouraging them not to return to their old vices in case they go out.
The regional jail director meanwhile urged the public to help sustain the livelihood projects of the PDLs.
He stressed that by buying the products of PDLs, the public is also helping the families of PDLs. (APB/PIA-10)