Persons deprived of liberty engage in scented candle production in Inagawan sub-colony to help raise funds for the chaplaincy.

Inmates at the Inagawan sub-colony have started making scented candles to raise funds for the chaplaincy and generate income as the holiday season approaches.

Prison chaplain Fr. Glenn Binasahan Parco said the project dubbed “Candles of Hope” aims to raise funds in addition to donations to strengthen the spiritual reformation of persons deprived of liberty (PDL). His cousin, Aissa Pia D. Olarte, who also has a business selling candles online, taught PDLs the skills and donated the initial materials.

The scented candles made by PDLs are intended to give them hope while they serve their sentences inside the prison, he added.

“Ngayon, we just rely sa donations-donations lang, hindi magiging sustainable ang isang program or project. All throughout the year, meron kaming gustong gawin for spiritual reformation,” he said.

Before the scented candle jars are decorated and put up for sale, a PDL gives them a thorough cleaning.

“This is in support to the prison ministry when it comes to their moral and spiritual programs– Ang programs natin sa moral and spiritual ay kailangan din talaga ng pondo for example meron tayong recollection, seminars and workshop, kailangan natin ng additional funds,” he added.

The first batch of soy wax scented candles yielded 35 pieces at P450 each, earning them P15,750. The PDLs will also receive a percentage of the profits to keep them motivated in the business.

Candles of Hope works to improve the skills of PDLs so that they can use them once they are released from prison. Around 10 PDLs from the Inagawan sub-colony initially participated in the project, and Fr. Parco hopes to expand it to other sub-colonies of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF).

“Iba ‘yong excitement ng PDLs kapag they know this is really for them–nakita ko sa kanila na very participative, gustong-gusto nila gawin, malaman,” he said.

“Mahalaga sa kanila ‘yong ganitong reformation programs, sabi nga ‘di ba the idle mind is the devil’s workshop kaya mahalaga yong ganito na makatulong sa patuloy nilang pagbabagong-buhay,” he added.

Additionally, he is eager to partner with churches as their candle manufacturer and promote the project all year long. Fr. Parco is confident that PDLs from the Inagawan sub-colony will be able to supply various churches with the candles they require for mass celebrations.

According to CTO II Levi Evangelista, IPPF’s information officer, it is the first prison and penal farm in the country where PDLs produce scented candles for sale.

Candle scents include vanilla, blackberry, coffee, Shangri-la, and caramelized apple.

“First time na magkaroon nito sa Iwahig through the initiative of Father Glenn, effort ng bawat isa na nais makatulong sa PDLs lalo ngayon na ang hirap ng panahon. No other income na makakatulong sa PDLs especially sa Inagawan, unlike sa central meron souvenir shop and other source of income, doon wala,” Evangelista said.

The penal prison also supports Fr. Parco’s goal of becoming a supplier of scented candles in the local market and churches. He noticed that it is distinct from the usual products manufactured, such as handicrafts.

Interested buyers may reach Fr. Parco or the IPPF or its personnel to prepare orders.