A TOTAL of 102 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) received their diplomas after passing the 2018 Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) test under the Department of Education (DepEd)-Leyte Division's Alternative Learning System (ALS) program at the Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog, Leyte.
"I didn't expect that I finished my studies inside this facility. I thanked the DepEd for giving me this opportunity to study which I didn't take seriously when I still have my freedom outside this place," said Jefrel, who received a medal Wednesday, June 26, for passing the ALS from the maximum security camp.
"We failed before, but it doesn't mean that we will be losers for the rest of our lives. Huwag nating isipin na ang lugar na ito ay libingan ng buhay, kundi libingan ng dati nating buhay," added Gerald, another ALS graduate who found "hope and redemption" after enrolling in ALS.
DepEd Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat of Public Affairs Service and ALS said one of the crucial parts in the lives of the PDLS "is their integration to the communities so they can contribute to nation building, to their families, and to their personal lives."
"Let this be a community effort in giving hope to our learners," said Ambat, as she urged the PDLs, correctional facility officials, and the DepEd to work together for the success of the program.
"I hope that there are changes that happen in your lives through the ALS. I want to thank you for taking this opportunity," said Ambat.
She also lauded the efforts of Leyte Division officials headed by Schools Division Superintendent Ronelo Al Firmo.
She assured the PDLs that the government will continue to reach out to them by providing them various programs despite their condition so they can contribute to the society by the time they will leave the correctional facility.
Ambat said they are discussing on the possible opening of a college extension program to the ALS and Senior High School PDL graduates.
Firmo,, along with Assistant Schools Division Superintendents Edgar Tenasas and Marilyn Siao, was instrumental in the opening of ALS and Senior High School classes at the Leyte Regional Prison.
She thanked the support of LRP Superintendent Danilo Dador, DepEd Eastern Visayas Regional Director Ramir Uytico and the ALS mobile teachers assigned inside the correctional facility.
Also present during the ceremony were Dr. Marilette Almayda of DepEd Bureau of Learning Delivery, Leyte ALS Education Program Supervisor Marie Joy Arias, and other education personnel.
The graduates also witnessed the signing of the contract of usufruct for the upcoming construction of a permanent classroom building inside the LRP.