Bazaar to showcase inmates’ handicrafts

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 July) – The handicrafts made by inmates at the 11 jail facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management Penology (BJMP) in Davao Region will be showcased in a three-day bazaar at the SM City Davao on August 2 to 4.

Jail Inspector Helen Rose Saragena, chief of BJMP-Davao’s community relations and welfare and development, said during Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday that various products ranging from twine bags, baskets, beads, coin banks and paintings will be displayed during the BJMP Anniversary Bazaar.

The display aims to promote the products to support the livelihood program of the inmates.

“We want to emphasize that the persons deprived of liberty deserve a second chance. All of us can commit mistakes. It’s just that they committed that are outside the law. Our point is, they deserve an opportunity to be reintegrated as fully functioning individuals of society,” Saragena said.

She said the livelihood program was created in early 2000 to introduce a “humanistic approach,” which involves initiatives on development and reformation, into the country’s prison system to prepare the inmates for their eventual reintegration into the mainstream society as productive citizens.

“Our focus now is how we could help them shift their thoughts and perception to make them realize that the kind of life available to them is not only limited to the kind of life they have lived before,” she said.

She added the BJMP has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Education and Department of Trade and Industry to help inmates learn skills.

She said the inmates get livelihood trainings from DTI and TESDA, which provide starter kits for their products. The trainings include bookkeeping, massage therapy, tile setting, carpentry and bread making.

She said the income from the livelihood program has enabled detained couples to provide for their children.

She added some inmates discovered they have skills in handicraft while in detention.

“If ever they get integrated to the society, they will have new source of income and knowledge,” she said.

She added the BJMP helps inmates, who are 80% drug offenders, find jobs once they are released through its aftercare program.

Aside from the livelihood, she said the BJMP-Davao also provides inmates the opportunities to finish education.

Inmates who have not completed elementary and high school may avail of the alternative learning system while those who want to study college can enroll in College Education Behind Bars program and attend classes at the jail facility in Ma-a, Davao City, according to Saragena.

Four-year programs offered include computer technology and agribusiness.

In 2016, BJMP-Davao officials signed a memorandum of agreement with officials from University of Southeastern Philippines, Social Entrepreneurship Technology and Business Institute to materialize the Prison Rehabilitation and College Education Behind Bars, a comprehensive college educational program for the detainees in Ma-a Jail. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)