PDLs who serve as teacher aides inside the penal prison earn the highest GCTA from the first batch of released PDLs this month of January [Photo from Levi Evangelista, IPPF PIO]

The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) is confident that more Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) releases will be granted to persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in 2022, almost two years after the revision of RA10592, as facility officials continue to deliberate their performances.

According to Levi Evangelista, ICF’s information officer, 15 PDLs were released in 2021 after deliberation and endorsement by the ICF’s central office. On January 14, the Bureau of Corrections’ (BUCOR) main office granted release papers to 12 PDLs and four GCTA returnees.

The returnees are among the 185 individuals identified by the penal institution as having returned to ICF in 2019 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for them to surrender.

“Inaasahan natin na madadagdagan pa ito for this year, at mas marami pa ang inaasahan natin. Sapagkat last year alone ay nakapagrekomenda na tayo ng nasa humigit-kumulang na 700 na PDLs na ayon sa ating Management Screening and Evaluation Committee ay qualified na mabigyan ng kalayaan under the GCTA,” Evangelista said.

He added that the number of releases is significant on the part of the penal prison as it helps boost the morale of the PDLs, who waited for the resumption of the GCTA computation since 2019.

“Kung titingnan natin ang populayon sa kabuuhan ng national penitentiary ay significant na rin ang figures na ito. Pinag-aaralan kasi ‘yan, the current administration of director (general) Bantag is of course ayaw din (magkamali) or hindi pwede magkamali doon sa pag-compute niyan. Karapat-dapat ba talaga mabigyan ng GCTA? Isa-isa ‘yan,” he explained.

After the batch granted this year under GCTA, the ICF management is still anticipating release papers to arrive this month. The PDLs with cases in Palawan were given priority by the ICF in 2021 since they already have complete paperworks that would be processed for their deliberation.

“Nagpapasalamat din tayo sa kanilang nagawa at ang ilang tagubilin natin sa kanila, lalong-lalo na ‘yong kanilang natutunan dito sa reformation programs ay kanilang isabuhay at maging modelo sila. Unang-una sa pamilya at sa komunidad,” he said.

Evangelista is optimistic that the ICF can still handle an increased number of PDLs inside its sub-colonies as management expedites the deliberation of the PDLs’ GCTA. Within the ICF’s sub-colonies of Iwahig, Inagawan, Sta. Lucia, and Montible, there are currently 2,701 PDLs.

“Kahit panahon ng pandemya na kung saan ang papers nila ay naaapektuhan. Katulad na rin sa parole kasi—hindi naging regular ‘yong (interview) ng board of pardons and parole. Pero still with the GCTA, ‘yong ating local MSEC group ng Iwahig ay masipag naman through the guidance ng aming superintendent na makapagrekomenda,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.