The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) released 14 inmates who were able to complete serving their sentences on Philippine Independence Day.
Penal farm spokesperson and corrections technical officer II Levi Evangelista said the 14 “persons deprived of liberty” or PDL are now free to return to their families and mainstream society after completing their prison time with the help of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) under Republic Act (RA) 10592.
He said the inmates have already been given their certificates of discharge to live normal lives again, hopefully, staying out of situations that could get them back to the penal farm.
“Hindi lang ito dahil sa Philippine Independence Day kung hindi dahil na-meet na nila ang required time na i-serve nila ang kanilang sentensya. Binibigyang kulay lang natin ang Independence Day para sa maging mahalaga sa kanila lalo ang kalayaan,” Evangelista said.
He said every month, the IPPF will be releasing 40 PDLs based on their GCTAs which are helping speed up the process of their release.
The GCTA is earned by an inmate who shows good behavior while serving time in the prison system. It is a prison sentence reduction scheme stipulated under RA 10592, which amended Articles 29, 94,97, 98 and 99 of Republic Act 3815.
Evangelista explained that prisoners who are teaching, planting in the rice fields, and avoids getting involved in violence during their stay inside the penal farm have greater chances of getting large GCTAs.
He said since the GCTA’s inception in the prison system, it has helped decongest Iwahig penal farm which now has a population of around 3,200 inmates.
“Nade-decongest ang ating kulungan, imagine 40 PDL ang lumalaya sa kada buwan i-times 10 mo ay nasa 4,000. Malaking benepisyo ito para sa Iwahig at hindi na sumisikip, nagiging maluwag agad ,” he added.
However, he admitted that the IPPF is undermanned.
Along with the 14 inmates who will be officially released on June 15, prisoners given paroles will also be discharged this month, he added.
Meanwhile, 17 persons with disabilities (PWD) inside Iwahig were also given their IDs on the same day to help them avail the same benefits of citizens outside the prison.
The elderly inmates have also received their cards from the Office of Senior Citizens Affair (OSCA).
Evangelista expressed optimism the PDL to be discharged from prison would follow the reformation program taught inside the jail facility.