Image courtesy of Levi Evangelista

The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) will showcase and highlight the products made by persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) virtually during the celebration of 26th National Correctional Consciousness Week (NCCW) from October 26 to November 1.

ICF CT/Insp. Teddy Martin, work and livelihood program in-charge officer said that virtual selling of PDLs products is the new strategy in selling and endorsing products nationwide of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) amidst pandemic.

“Hindi lang naman ngayon hina-highlight ang display ng products ng PDLs kasi taon-taon ay dumadayo kami sa headquarters sa Muntinlupa, lahat ng prison and penal farm ay nag-iipon-ipon kami ron, yong mga representative bringing all colony products halimbawa mga basket, furniture made out of bamboo, light materials lang,” he said.

He said that the ICF management will highlight the souvenir products made by PDLs from sub-colonies of Iwahig, Sta. Lucia, Montible and Inagawan including their agricultural products and value-added products produced.


Image courtesy of Levi Evangelista


He added that one of the advantages in virtual selling of PDLs products is the lesser movement and expenses involved unlike before.

“Unang-una, ang advantage nito sa virtual ay less yong cost ng ating movement, ‘pag nagdadala kasi kami sa Manila, papamasahian mo pa yong two to three employees plus yong dala mo ay ibabarko mo, eroplano, it’s a burden for us na magdala kaya lang mandatory din kasi at naging tradition,,” he said.

Shifting to virtual platform also gave the public an idea that ICF also produces agricultural products cultivated by PDLs themselves.

He added that even ICF is taking strict precautionary measures, the penal prison farm also continues its services.

The ICF management also identified a good spot for the internet connection to address its stability challenge in the area.

Aside from selling of PDLs products, ICF said in a post online that it will be conducting different activities for the entire week such as moral and spiritual counseling by reformation officers; information drive regarding executive clemency, parole and other forms of releases; free calls and text to the loved ones of PDLs; and indoor games.

ICF information officer CTOII Levi Evangelista said that the celebration of NCCW is in compliant with the minimum health protocols prescribed by the government.

“Alinsunod ito sa Proclamation Number 551 declaring the last week of October every year as National Correctional Consciousness Week, kaugany nito maraming activities si IPPF. Bagama’t nasa pandemya tayo, yong health protocols ay sinusunod natin kay hindi siya malakihan,” he said.

The ICF also conducts lectures in relation with the releases of PDLs with question and answer forum to enlighten the PDLs with their concerns.

PDLs will also showcase their talents in singing, dancing and other discipline of arts in aim to provide an avenue of their potentials.

BuCor is celebrating the NCCW nationwide with the theme ‘Pagmamalasakit, Pagkalinga, at Pag-unawa sa gitna ng Pandemya: Magpatuloy, Manatili at Magtagumpay’ simultaneously in seven prison and penal farms in the country.

Pandemic’s effect in system of reformation

Evangelista said that the current pandemic has caused the temporary suspension of visiting privileges due to the risk of transmission.

The penal management did not allow the visitations since month of March up to present to protect the safety of both employees and around 2,800 PDLs inside.

Evangelista said that the ICF management is also waiting for the advise of its central office in BuCor to the resumption of visiting privileges.

“Malaki ang naging epekto kasi unang-una, pinagbawal natin yong dalaw dahil ito ang nakikita natin na posibilidad na maka-transmit ng disease. Up to this day since March nong pumutok yong pandemic, wala pa rin kami ina-allow na dalaw,” he said.

The ICF provided free voice calls to the PDLs to help them connect with their families outside the prison premises.

The prison management offered the free voice calls prior to the celebration of NCCW and aims to accommodate some numbers of PDLs from different sub-colonies in a week.

“Phone call pa lang available so nagkakaroon ng pagkakataon ang PDLs na makausap naman ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay at makamusta, malaman din kung anong lagay nila. Malaking moral, sa reformation, malaking tulong yong call sa pagbabago nila,” he said.

He added that ICF also continues to raise the awareness and consciousness of PDLs with the coronavirus disease as the quarantine controls started in March.