Inmates graduate, too

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


THIS month of Marching March, even inmates graduate, too.

At the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Bacolod City, 39 inmates from three district jails graduated from the Alternative Learning System (ALS), says Chief Inspector Gilbert Peremne, provincial administrator of BJMP-Negros Occidental.

The commencement rites were held Friday, March 21, in two separate ceremonies, BJMP-Handumanan and BJMP-Singcang.

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Of the 39 ALS graduates, eight finished elementary education and 31 finished secondary education.

They have hurdled the Accreditation and Equivalency Test given by the Bureau of Alternative Learning System in October 2013, after 10 months of attending ALS classes under mobile teachers and the supervision of district ALS coordinators.

“While learning institutions are busy with graduation ceremonies, the BJMP is also joining the fever of the outside world by having its own version of the graduation,” says Senior Inspector Ruth Estales, wardress of the BJMP-Bacolod Female Dormitory.

Estales added that this is the third year, since 2011, that the BJMP collaborated with the Bureau of Alternative Learning System to implement Project Bakal (Balik Aral sa Kulungan sa Tulong ng ALS).

“This activity became a yearly tradition in jails with ALS,” adds Chief Inspector Larry Fuentes, warden of BJMP-Singcang.

Through ALS, many inmates benefited with the Project Bakal.

“The inmates who have finished elementary education are enrolling in the secondary and making the best of their time while under detention,” Fuentes says.

Jory Garcia, an inmate at BJMP-Singcang who was among the 39 graduates, says, “Wala gid ako nag-interes nga mag-eskwela sa gua sang una kay kadamu sang upang. Kay bangod pigado ang pangabuhi, ang tanan nga tiyempo nausar nalang sa pagpangita sang kwarta asta nga nagtigulang na ako kag na preso. (I didn’t pay interest to school when I was in the outside world before because of so many hindrances. Since we are poor, most of my time was devoted to look for money until I reached this age and I am jailed)

Garcia, 52, graduated elementary from ALS.

The graduation ceremonies were made more special because Education secretary Bro. Armin Luistro extended his congratulatory message to the inmates, through DepEd district supervisors Carmen Navarro and Ronie Tababa.

“Through the many challenging moments we’ve endured, many of us tempted to give up, but a Filipino heart refuse to be broken by calamities. We see the ray of hope in the faith and joy we share with each even in the most trying of circumstances. We may be battered but definitely never defeated,” Luistro said in his message read by the district supervisors.

“May this year’s theme, ‘Hindi Natitinag ang Pusong Pilipino,’ be a constant reminder and a source of strength that will propel each graduate to achieve more for others and for the country in spite of the obstacles that will stand in the way,” Luistro added.

Attending the separate rites as guest speakers were Ma. Gemma Ledesma, schools division superintendent, and Dr. Gregorio Moyani Jr. Education Program Supervisor 1-ALS.

Ledesma, Moyani, and Peremne encouraged the inmates to
stay focus and keep on dreaming because someday the gate for freedom will be opened for them and when that time comes, they will no longer be a problem, instead a productive member of the society because they were already provided with basic education and trained for life skills while on detention.*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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