De Lima lauds jail, prison volunteers for helping PDLs regain hope

Detained Senator Leila de Lima has commended jail and prison volunteers for investing their time and effort to share love and compassion among persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and help them heal and become closer to God.

As the country celebrated the 34th Prison Awareness Week, De Lima said the love and compassion shown to PDLs help them regain hope amid their ordeal.

De Lima’s message was read by her Chief-of-Staff, Atty. Fhillip D. Sawali, during the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care’s (CBCP-ECPPC) celebration of the Prison Awareness Week.

The reelectionist senator said it is important to make prisoners feel there is still hope despite the challenges they face as a PDL.

“it’s important to make them feel they are still important, there is hope, and there is a way for them to rise from trials,” De Lima said.

“Love, hope and nurturing community that centers on God would help them quickly heal and rise up. Our jail and prison volunteers have done so much to help those in the prison community be humane, to be caring and to reject discrimination,” she added.

A detainee herself, De Lima maintained that no matter how small, any efforts done to help PDLs and others who are suffering improve their lives can make a big difference.

As she seeks another fresh term in the Senate in the upcoming May 2022 elections, De Lima vowed she would not stop working to improve the plight of PDLs and fight for the much-needed reforms in the country’s prison and correctional systems.

“We have been pushing for the enactment of laws that seeks comprehensive prison and jail reforms and measures that seek to promote respect for female prisoners. These are part of our our human rights and social justice agenda,” the senator said.

De Lima has filed Senate Bill No. 180 which seeks to institutionalize prison reform and restorative justice in the country’s correctional system to ensure the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates while according full respect of their rights.

She also filed Senate Bill No. 181 which primarily aims to unify corrections and management system by centralizing the management of all prisons and jails under a single government authority to be called National Commission on Corrections and Jail Management.

The lawmaker is also pushing for Senate Bill No. 378 which seeks to protect female detainees from sexual harassment and other forms of abuse in the course of their incarceration.