The new management of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) under Supt. Gary Garcia has committed to prioritizing security, reformation, and internal cleansing of the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) as well as the facility’s personnel.

Garcia, a career and homegrown official, said on Monday that he will “bring back the glory of Iwahig” by instilling discipline among the PDL, as well as their personnel.

Garcia was the IPPF’s Deputy Superintendent for Security Operations before he was given this job as superintendent. He also worked as Penal Supervisor of the Inagawan sub-colony for 11 years and has now completed 27 years of service after joining IPPF in 1995.

“Halos kilala ako ng lahat empleyado dito, kilala ko rin sila. Alam ko ang mga ugali nila at mga istilo nila. Alam na alam ko kung sino ang dapat natin ilagay sa mga pwesto. Hindi nila tayo pwedeng paglinlangan dahil dito na nga tayo pinanganak lalong-lalo na ‘yong kalokohan ng PDL, alam na alam natin yan,” he said.

He said that among his priorities are a review of security protocols, prison facility assessment, internal cleansing, and decongestion.

The IPPF administration sees the ongoing construction of the 10-hectare new prison compound as aiding in the decongestion of PDLs as well as the modernization of its facilities. The penal prison houses approximately 2,600 PDLs across four sub-colonies.

“Meron Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Modernization Act of 2013 na in-implement noong 2018. Kasama yan diyan ‘yong pagtatayo ng bagong facilities. In fact, meron tayong tinatayo ngayon sa kasalukuyan, hindi pa siya natatapos, masasabi natin na medyo modern na ‘yong compound niya, facilities niya. Ang Republic Act 10575 nagbibigay sa amin ng authority na magtayo ng bagong facilities,” he said.

Garcia hopes that expediting the computation of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) will aid the IPPF in its decongestion plans. IPPF has already released 489 PDLs from January to October and hopes to end the year by completing their 500 goal.

He noted that there will be no changes to the projects implemented by the previous administration and that they will continue the partnerships both with government agencies and private groups. Former Supt. Joel Calvelo’s team promised to use prison land for agriculture-related projects when they were in charge.

The penal prison will continue to invest in PDL skill training as part of the reformation program, believing that it will benefit them after they have served their sentences. He added that the training could also assist PDLs in exploring other possible handicraft products as the IPPF’s souvenir shop re-opened to the public after a two-year hiatus.

Internal cleansing
He also vowed to implement “moral recovery” for both PDL and IPPF employees.

“Winawarningan natin sila na kapag nahuli natin sila na meron pang ginagawa na illegal o patuloy nilang ginagawa yong illegal na gawain, there is no room para sa kanila to stay,” he said.

“Siguro ang sa akin, definitely ay icha-charge natin sila ng administrative. Sinabi ko na rin na hindi manghihinayang si Iwahig para sila ay ma-retain pa– Meron na rin tayong listahan pero I am giving them a chance para ayusin at magbago,” he added.

Aside from correcting some personnel’s practices, he stated that his administration will focus on streamlining personnel to achieve the ideal ratio in serving PDLs. IPPF has approximately 300 personnel deployed in Iwahig, Sta. Inagawan, Lucia, and Montible

“Sa streamlining ng personnel natin, kulang na kulang talaga tayo sa personnel. Ang ideal ratio natin is 1:7 sa corrections officer natin,kapag sa technical officer naman natin, mga reformation ay 1:24. Sa ngayon ay malaki pa ang kakulangan natin para ma-meet na ang ideal ratio,” 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.