Christmas lanterns made by fellow detainees fund their release
MANILA -- For "Rocky," this is one of his happiest Christmases.
After three years, he will once again celebrate Christmas with his family.
The 29-year-old, who faced illegal drugs charges, is one of the 12 persons deprived of liberty or PDLs released Thursday from the General Trias City Jail in Cavite.
Before being locked up in jail, Rocky was a multicab driver. Now that he has been released, he promises to never make the same mistakes again.
"Unang-una sa lahat, magbabago po ako. Tutulong ako sa aking pamilya. Pinapangako ko po sa Panginoon na magbabago po ako. Sa paglaya ko po na ito, sisiguraduhin ko po na hindi na ako babarkada.”
(First of all, I will change. I will help my family. I promise the Lord that I will change and will no longer hang out with bad company.)
In the covered court of the General Trias City Jail, Zenaida was waiting to pick up "Rocky". Zenaida hopes that with her son's release, there will be a better tomorrow awaiting for him.
“Sa isang ina na kagaya ko, syempre po napakasaya po kasi matagal ko na rin na-miss ang anak ko na yan eh. Sa ngayon, binigyan kami ng pagkakataon ng Panginoong Diyos.”
(As a mother, of course I am happy because I have missed my son. Now, God has given us a chance to be together again.)
According to General Trias City Jail Warden C/Insp. Aris Williamere Villaester, a total of 68 PDLs, 18 of whom are women, are set to be released this Christmas.
“Sila po ay kasama sa priority list namin. Ibig sabihin, sila po yung deserving and qualified. Deserving kapagka maganda yung kanilang pakikutungo sa loob ng facility, at qualified kapagka yung mga requirements nila ay na-comply nila within specific time,” he said.
(They are the ones in our priority list, which means they are deserving and qualified. They are deserving when they behave well in prison and meet certain requirements within a specific time.)
The release of PDLs is part of the Light of Hope Project: Parol sa Paglaya.
More than 300 lanterns made by PDLs were purchased by the local government of General Trias City. Part of the income will go to the PDLs so they can start a new life outside prison.
“Sana rin sa kanilang maliit na paraan, baka makatulong sila, baka isa na naming inmate o PDL ang mabigyan ng bagong buhay, bagong pag-asa at makapiling ang kaniyang pamilya, lalo na ngayong Kapaskuhan,” said General Trias City Mayor Jon-Jon Ferrer.
(I hope, in their own small ways, they can help give an inmate new life, new hope, and a new chance at being with their loved ones this Christmas.)
Upon their release, the PDLs will receive a livelihood assistance of P6,000 each from the General Trias City LGU and P4,000 from Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Disabled Workers or TUPAD of the DOLE.
This year, about 80 other PDLs from the Sponsor-A-Release Program have been released from the General Trias City Jail.