Tabaco City jail inmates turn used tarps into fashionable bags, aprons

Published August 15, 2022, 6:06 PM

by Niño Luces

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – Instead of throwing used tarpaulins into garbage, inmates have created them into fashionable and reusable handbags and aprons, thereby becoming their livelihood while detained at the Tabaco City District Jail in Tabaco City in this province.

Fashionable handbags made of used tarpaulin and weaved by inmates of Tabaco District Jail are on sale in some malls and supermarkets in Bicol region. Proceeds go to the family of inmates for their living. (Photo by: BUCIT c/o Prof. Romnick Apin)

Jail Chief Inspector Freddie T. Caballero II said in an interview with the Manila Bulletin that the idea recycling used tarpaulins into something useful came after the 2022 Presidential and Local Elections.

“Bali nagsimula ito way back 2018 pa siya. Which is ako yung Warden, actually 2nd wardenship ko na dito sa Tabaco City District Jail, so nagkaroon kami ng memorandum of understanding between the Bicol University College of Industrial Technology (BUCIT) (We actually started this in 2018. I was the warden then, and this is my second wardenship here in Tabaco City District Jail, so we entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bicol University College of Industrial Technology),” said Caballero.

“Part po kasi ito ng kanilang extension services sa community. Yun nga po, napili po nila yung ating mga PDLs dito sa Tabaco City District Jail. Dati pa po mayroon na kaming mga lampshades, pastries, meron din kaming mga coconut shells, yung mga beads. So ngayon po, parang na-revived lang siya ngayong taon dahil kakatapos lang ng eleksyon last May (This is part of its (Bicol University’s) extension services in the community and our PDLS here at Tabaco City District Jail were chosen. We used to create lampshades, pastries, coconut shells. This year, we just revived the project since we’re just through with the election last May),” added Caballero.

Caballero said that the program “Basura mo, Kabuhayan ko” was relaunched through the partnership with BUCIT.

“Yung mga binaklas na tarpaulins galing sa Oplan Baklas ng mga LGUs dun actually nagkaroon ng ideya,” he stressed.

He said that BUCIT provided the training to the inmates on how to create or sew using used tarpaulins.

“Unang-una kasi yung mga PDLs natin ay hindi pwedeng lumabas na walang court order. So nagkaroon kami ng pag-uusap na, why not yung training ang dalhin dito sa loob,” he said.

The training for the inmates runs while the province is under alert level 1 due to the corona virus disease (COVID-19).

He said that Tabaco District Jail has 402 inmates and 31 of them are female.

Out of the 402 inmates, 25 of them underwent training for creating bags and aprons.

“Hindi rin kasi pwedeng palabasin lahat for training for security reason. Selected PDLs lang po ito,” he added.

Finished products were sold at P199 per piece or P189 per piece if you buy for a dozen, market bags were sold at P30.00 per piece or P24.00 per piece if you buy a dozen and P40.00 per piece or P34.00 per piece if you buy a dozen for aprons.

“Yung proceed ay napupunta sa PDL, sa mga relatives nila na dumadalaw sa kanila,” Caballero said.

Finished products were advertised through Facebook pages of the Tabaco City District Jail and the Local Government of Tabaco City.

“May bumibili as far as Camarines Norte, Naga City and kahit saan dako ng rehiyon. We are also joining trade fairs especially sa SM City Naga and SM City Legazpi,” he added.

Market bags are also now available in different public markets, especially in Daraga Public Market.

“Yung design po nito is hindi basta-basta. Dumaan sila sa training. Meron pa silang branding, design, so ibig sabihin mga color combination. Kung tutuusin, hindi namin kaya yun kung walang training,” Caballero explained.

Caballero meanwhile, thanked the Tabaco City government, other LGUs, BUCIT and other stakeholders for making their inmates more productive while detained.