The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) said that visiting privileges of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) committed inside its four sub-colonies are still suspended during the holiday season but the facility will accept food supplies from their relatives outside.
ICF Superintendent Raul Levita said that the prison management could not lift the temporary suspension unless its national headquarters will release a directive about it. He added that the ICF will however allow the deliveries of food supplies of relatives to PDLs in the spirit of Christmas.
“Sa Pasko nila, ginagawan ko ng paraan na makapagpadala man lang ang kanilang mga pamilya sa kanila kung ano man ang gusto nila ipadala sa kanila, papayagan natin ‘yan bago magkapaskuhan. Pero ‘yong makadalaw sila, hangga’t walang memorandum o directive mula sa ating national headquarters, ganon pa rin. Hindi pa rin tayo tatanggap ng dalaw,” Levita said.
Levita added that to help the PDLs feel the spirit of the holiday season despite temporary suspension of visiting privileges, he is still coordinating non-government organizations (NGOs) and private individuals for gifts they could extend to PDLs.
Due to more than 2,800 population of PDLs in ICF, he said they will prioritize those who are in need such as senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and even those PDLs who have not had any visitors for a long time.
“Nakikipag-usap pa rin ako sa ibang NGOs o private individuals na baka meron sila pwedeng mairegalo sa ating PDLs ay wini-welcome namin. Recently ay marami na rin naman nagbigay sa kanila pero syempre hindi naman natin kaya bigyan lahat sa dami. Pina-prioritize natin ‘yong mas nangangailangan tulad ng senior citizen, PWDs, patients natin sa hospital, ‘yong mga walang dalaw na matagal na panahon,” he said.
The ICF management also continues to roll out its Tawag Center wherein PDLs can still keep in touch with their relatives outside the prison through voice calls.
“Sana naintindihan nila ang directives ng Bureau of Corrections na wala munang dalaw para sa kaligtasan ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Ang lagi ko ikinakakaba ay mapasukan tayo ng COVID sa kalungan, mas mabilis ‘yon mag-spread, kahit mga empleyado ay pinag-iingat ko na huwag mahawaan ang PDLs,” he said.
The prison superintendent added that they will soon launch the online selling of PDLs’ products before the year ends to provide additional income to them due to the closure of its souvenir shops.
The ICF is one of the spots mostly visited by tourists in the city highlighting its rich history through colonial architecture, souvenir shop from PDLs products, and Balsahan River.
“Meron kaming kina-craft na online selling through a certain page. Nakagawa na kami, ginagawa na lang ‘yong guidelines kung sino ang magmo-monitor. Lahat ng craft ng PDLs natin, doon natin ipo-post, made to order, depende sa sizes na gusto nila,” he said.
Aside from local buyers, ICF eyes to open it to the national scope of the market with an additional shipping fee.