Rotarians breaking bread with prisoners-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
COMPASSION respects no barriers and, in fact, has linked members of Rotary with inmates of the Baguio City jail.
The Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capital was recently cited by the Rotary Youth Support Liaison Council for Great East Japan Earthquake for contributing to the “Rotary Wind of Hope Scholarship,” an educational support program for children orphaned by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 last year.
“The donation will be spent exclusively as scholarships for the earthquake-stricken students of universities and technical colleges,” wrote Misao Ueno, chairman of the Rotary Youth Support Liaison Council for Great East Japan Earthquake, in a letter of gratitude to the club.
Baguio Foundation vice president Minoru Saito recently presented the citation to RCBSC immediate past president Antonio Tactay.
It took the inmates about two months to respond to the call for international support to the victims of the killer quake and tsunami. It took them until May 8 to turn over their support through then jail warden, Chief Inspector Severino Khita.
It was “Mother’s Day” and “Red Cross Day” and the warden organized what the prisoners call a “springtime.” It was an occasion for them to venture into the jail courtyard for a “Mother’s Day” reunion with their families.
As the banks were closed, warden Khita waited the following morning to have an elderly woman detainee escorted to the Philippine National Bank branch. She deposited the amount to the account of the Philippine National Red Cross which was then into the thick of a campaign for the victims.
Early last month, the Rotarians led by club founder Virgilio Bautista and incoming president Joris Karl Dacawi found themselves inside the jail. They escorted to prison visiting Rotarian Stanley Tokigawa of Ala Moana District 5000 in Honolulu and Prof. David McQuittey of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary based in Fort Worth, Texas.
The two visitors came from Alaminos, Pangasinan where they delivered a container van of medical supplies for the town. They braved a storm in coming up to Baguio to link with fellow Rotarians. They brought three boxes of rubber sandals that turned out to be the entry point towards a continuing partnership in prison reform.
Rotary Summer decided the sandals would fit the women inmates who received the same in a program inside the prison chapel.
In her response, a woman detainee brought the Rotarians to the possibility of their expanding prison reform by bringing in a bread oven.
Over lunch, Tokigawa and McQuittey were asking what it would take to deliver the oven. Back in Honolulu, Tokigawa sent the amount needed.
“We have contacted Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) and it’s ready to train the inmates how to bake their own pandesal,” jail warden, Chief Inspector Wilson Banasen, said.
“That means bigger and better quality bread at less cost for our wards,” noted Chief Inspector Maryann Tresmanio, wardress for the women’s dorm.
“For sure, their training will open livelihood opportunity through baking when they have been released from detention,” she added. (Ramon Dacawi)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 22, 2012.