INDANG, Cavite – A group of persons under police custody (PUPC) penned a touching letter of gratitude to community pantry organizers who sent meals to the municipal jail where they were being detained.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyo dahil pinagkakaabalahan at pinaglalaanan ‘nyo ng oras ang mga katulad namin na naligaw ng landas (We’re thankful to you because you’re making time for people like us who went astray),” the letter, sent to the organizers on April 28, read.
The community pantry was co-organized by Youth Advocates for Civilized and Appropriate Conduct towards Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Philippines (YACAP PH), a non-government organization advancing the plight of PUPCs and Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL). They started sending food to PUPCs on April 23, knowing that jail visitation has been limited due to the pandemic.
“Of course, it was overwhelming. It seemed to be a tap on our backs,” YACAP PH Executive Director Melanie Joy Feranil told the Manila Bulletin.
According to Feranil, a letter-sending activity was a part of their donation drive program they held for Indang PUPCs a few years ago.
“We facilitated giving of letters. We read it in front of them, and majority cried. According to them, that was the only time they felt accepted again,” she recalled.
“On the second day of extending the pantry in the jail, one police officer conveyed Kuya PJ’s [the mayor in the men’s cell] message. He was there years ago, and he is still there now. He asked us if we could give them a letter of appreciation again, as their morale already fell down. There were no allowed physical visitations, and the congestion is a problem too.”
Right after reading the letter they requested from YACAP PH, the PUPCs replied to express their gratitude.