AT LEAST 10 inmates of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOPJ) can enjoy freedom once again after being pardoned under the Decongestion Program of Governor Yevgeny "Bambi" Emano.
Four of them were released on Tuesday, February 20, while the other six will be freed today.
The inmates were charged with drug-related cases and spent not more than four years behind bars.
The program aims to decongest the detention facility, following the strenuous anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte administration.
Emano ordered the Provincial Legal Office to implement the Plea Bargaining Agreement of the Department of Justice which led to the speedy trial of the cases.
The capitol's top official tapped both public and private lawyers and local prosecutors to help hasten the prosecution of their cases in court.
"The release is based on court order. Ubos sa pag-abag sa Provincial Legal Office ang maong mga inmates nag-avail sa plea bargaining agreement sa DOJ mao nadali ang ilang paglaya. Kini aron sad maluag-luagan ang atong prisohan,"MOPJ warden Dominador Tagarda said.
Tagarda said the 10 pardoned inmates have undergone rehabilitation.
Emano gave them P500 cash assistance for their fare and allowance as they return home, while challenging them to live a new, better life.
"Magtinarong na kamo. Dili ko gusto nga makita pa kamo sulod sa prisohan. Maglisod nako og tabang kaninyo kung mapriso kamog usab. Huna-hunaon ninyo inyong pamilya," Emano told the four minutes after they were officially released on Tuesday.
"Kanang cash maayo na lang na naay pampalit pagkaon ug pasalubong sa pamilya sa ilang pag-uli," Emano added.
Russell Soler, one of the freed inmates, said he was thankful to Emano and to the program that paved the way for his release.
He said he had no bad and difficult experiences while inside the jail facility because of the humane and good management of MOPJ.
However, Soler was worried about the stigma and acceptance of the community.
"Mapasalamaton ko sa pamunuan sa MOPJ ug sa programa ni Gov. Emano. Maayo ang tratar sa ako sa sulod ug wala koy maistorya nga daotan ilabi na sa mga programa ni Gov(ernor)," Soler said.
"Malipay ko makagawas pero ang pagdawat na pud sa katilingban sa amoa sa gawas kay kabalo ko nga dili patas kay tungod nga niagi mi diri, So mag adjust na pud," he added.