JOHN Jake Rivera, 34, doesn’t want to be remembered as a jailbird for the rest of his life.
Arrested two years ago for selling illegal drugs, the father of two from Barangay Colon, City of Naga told Sun.Star Cebu he regretted the day he traded the love of his wife and kids for crime.
Now spending his second year in the City of Naga Jail while trial on his case is ongoing, Rivera wants to forget his past and look for better opportunities.
Through the help of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and a Cebu-based technical-vocational school, Rivera and 15 other inmates of the City of Naga Jail are now certified welders after taking a free 34-day course on shielded metal arc welding (SMAW).
Eight personnel from the City of Naga Jail and City Fire Department also finished the course.
After passing the National Certification (NC) 2 accreditation from Tesda, the 24 graduates received their certificates last month in a simple program at the City of Naga Jail.
JO2 Louie Quiachon, acting jail officer and one of those who graduated from the course, said that the program, which is part of the BJMP’s Inmate Welfare and Development Program, is the first implemented in the region.
TESDA tapped the St. James Academy of Skills Technology (SJAST) based in Liloan, Cebu to provide instructors and training equipment.
Present during the awarding program were Senior Supt. Felixberto Jagorin Jr., BJMP 7 assistant director for administration; Mark Anthony Ylanan, Tesda Cebu Provincial Administrator; Brian Yuson, SJAST president; and City of Naga Jail Warden Eric Relucio.
Quiachon said they studied the free course because welding skills are often needed for maintenance work inside the jail.
For his part, Rivera said that receiving his NC2 accreditation for welding is just a step toward getting a good job, here or abroad.
He said that once he gets out of prison, he hopes to give his wife and two children a good life with his newfound skills and accreditation.
“Napriso ko tungod kay mas gipalabi nako ang akong bisyo kay sa akong pamilya. Kung gani makagawas ko, maningkamot ko nga makahatag ko ug maayong kinabuhi nila (I was jailed because I chose vice over my family. If ever I would be freed, I would work hard to give my family a good life),” he added.