GCTA law gives prisoners hope, sociologist says


Posted at Sep 17 2019 11:37 AM | Updated as of Sep 17 2019 12:10 PM

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MANILA - The possible grant of early release through good conduct time allowance gives prisoners hope, encouraging inmates to change for the better, a sociologist said Tuesday.

"Sinasabi nila (prisoners) that very hopeful sila sa GCTA, nababago 'yung mood ng PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) natin, there’s suddenly hope," Hannah Nario-Lopez, associate professor at the University of the Philippines' Department of Sociology, told radio DZMM.

(Prisoners say they are very hopeful of the GCTA. There's suddenly hope for our PDLs.)

"Pag nalaman nilang may GCTA, nae-encourage silang [maging] mas mabuting tao."

(When they become aware there's GCTA, they are encouraged to be better persons.)

Nario-Lopez said inmates should undergo technical or vocational training to gain skills while earning their good conduct credits.

"Habang nage-earn sila ng GCTA, nag-e-earn din sila ng practical skills para meron silang kabuhayan paglabas nila," she said.

(While they earn their GCTA, they also earn practical skills so they can have a livelihood after they're released from prison.)

"Isa ring magandang way para ma-earn nila ang GCTA is to help in prison management at kailangang kailangan natin 'yan dahil undermanned at severely overcrowded ang jails natin."

(Another good way to earn GCTA is to help in prison managment which we need because our jails are undermanned and severely overcrowded.)

Government on Monday issued revised implementing rules and regulations of the GCTA law, which clarified that escapees, habitual delinquents, recidivists and heinous crime convicts are excluded from benefiting from the policy.

The 2013 law came under public scrutiny following the release of some 2,000 heinous crime convicts and the now-cancelled release of rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez.

Nario-Lopez said the GCTA issue is only a "symptom" of the condition of the Philippines' justice system.

"Ang problema talaga yung kondisyon ng justice system natin, kondisyon ng kulungan natin, ng mga tao kung bakit sila nakukulong in the first place, bakit sila nagnanakaw, merong mga pinanggagalingan itong mga taong ito. Bakit despite of having a very Catholic society, a very punitive society, they still do crime."

(Our problem is the condition of our justice system, jails, and people. Why they are being imprisoned in the first place, why do they steal. Why despite of having a very Catholic society, a very punitive society, they still do crime.)