BJMP, PCSO launch project for prisoners

Published February 16, 2021, 4:34 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) deserve access to health and medical services, education, and livelihood opportunities, and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic should not hinder the government’s efforts in providing them with these basic human rights.

This is what the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) had in mind as they launched last Monday, Feb. 15, the “Swerte at Tulong sa Lahat, Serbisyong Tapat ang Lahad Project” (STL Double) at the BJMP National Headquarters in Quezon City.

The project covers PDLs in all districts, and city and municipal jails under the BJMP.

Not only will the PDLs receive support from the PCSO, but even their immediate families will be given scholarships, medical support, as well as access to livelihood programs, the two agencies said.

BJMP’s Community Relations Service head, Jail Chief Inspector Zavier Solda said the PCSO’s “critical role” in rehabilitating the lives of PDLs will ensure that even the poorest of the poor and the marginalized sectors of society are not overlooked or forgotten.

For her part, PCSO General Manager Royina Garma said that it is their goal to let PDLs know that the government cares for them regardless of their social status.

“Kung kailangan ng tulong nang mga kababayan nating nakulong para makapagsimulang muli at tuluyang bumangon para sa patuloy nilang pagbabagong buhay lalo na yung mga naging biktima ng ilegal na droga, narito ang PCSO para bigyan sila ng panibagong pagkakataon (If our countrymen who are imprisoned and need help to start again and change their lives, especially those who have been victims of illegal drugs, the PCSO is here to give them another chance),” she said.

The PCSO has also donated various medical supplies to augment the BJMP’s resources in its fightagainst COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Department of Budget Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado, who led the project launch, stressed that the STL Double project requires the cooperation of several government agencies.

“Providing the peripheral sector of our society access to adequate health services, education, and livelihood opportunities is a business of not of one government agency only. If we want our goal achievable in a much shorter time than our original target, let us all share this responsibility,” he said.

Avisado pointed out that the mistakes made by PDLs in the past should not hinder them from changing and securing a promising future for themselves and their families.