By Chito Chavez
The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) on June 1, Monday, conducted a simultaneous Community Prayer for Faith and Resilience to kick-off the 9th BJMP Community Relations Service (CRS) month, with the theme “One Family, One Resilient Community.”
BJMP personnel paused from their daily duties to join in prayer to remind themselves and their communities to remain faithful to God while seriously taking precautionary measures against the dreaded novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
The prayer activity is the start of a month-long celebration of CRS Month in recognition of the indispensable role of the community in the effective implementation of the agency’s programs relative to its mandate on humane safekeeping and development of persons deprived of liberty (PDL).
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the BJMP noted that priority activities for this year were mostly through online platforms such as the “Webinar Series on Health, Family and Parenting, Leadership, Enhancing the Frontline Services, and Effective Communication.”
“The Community Relations Service Office also continues its program in promoting the literary talents of PDL through its National Literary Writing Competition. This year’s national search for the best literary work has poetry and essay writing categories,” the BJMP statement read.
“Despite the difficult situation we are in now, our PDL finds comfort in sharing their thoughts through their writings,” said BJMP Community Relations Service Office Chief Jail Chief Inspector Xavier Solda.
“Over the years of implementing this program, we [have] learned that writing is not only a platform for expressing their sentiments but also therapy for them,” he added.
Solda said that BJMP regional offices and jail units may introduce other community support activities as long as it will not compromise health protocols and other precautionary measures enumerated in BJMP National COVID-19 Task Force advisories and of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) resolutions.
BJMP Chief Jail Director Allan Iral thanked government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) that have consistently helped the BJMP with its programs, particularly on the welfare and development of PDL.
“A lot of things can happen if all sectors concerning jails are united and committed to implementing reforms to improve the lives of the people behind bars,” said Iral.
“This is the main reason we are grateful to the support being extended by the communities to help the PDL in our jails,” he added.
The Community Relations Service Month is an annual activity of the BJMP that brings its personnel closer to the members of the community.