Education behind bars

“Dasiga inyong kaugalingon nga mo-eskwela, dako kini nga kahigayunan nga kita ang gi-anhi.”

Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) consultant Marco Toral addressed his words to the detainees at the center, encouraging them to pump themselves up to study and grab the learning opportunity presented to them.

This message was given during the time when 16 inmates recently received certificates of completion from the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Alternative Learning System (ALS) program. Thirteen of them are now certified high school graduates while the rest are elementary graduates.

The first commencement exercise at the center was held at the CPDRC’s quadrangle last August 15. Inmates’ friends and families attended.

The 13 inmates underwent a 10-month module-type of learning, said Lissa Papas, one of their implementors for the secondary level.

“On the first week of the class, they were almost 20 of them. However, only those who did not backed down received their diplomas,” Papas said during an interview.

Tito Noval, 55, the eldest of the graduates, said there is always hope even in the most unfortunate situation in a man’s life.

“I am very thankful to the people who initiated this program to be implemented here at the center. It is an opening of opportunity for us,” Noval said.

He also said that he wants his family to be proud of him even if he is detained at CPDRC for eight years.

“My case is about to end and I will receive my diploma today. I am so thankful to the Lord because everything works out for my favor,” he added.

On the other hand, Clint Fabroa, 20, one of the three deteinees who graduated from elementary level, said he will continue to finish the secondary education.

Fabroa was the youngest of the 16 graduates and has been staying at the center for two years.

When asked if his loved ones were around to celebrate with him, Fabroa said his family had no idea that he attended classes inside CPDRC.

“I want to surprise them if they come for a visit. It is my dream to finish school and be able to find work for my family.”

Fabroa admitted that his actions in the past were influenced by peer pressure.

Meanwhile, Dr. Corazon Pumar, ALS superintendent who attended the ceremony last Saturday, said that they were reluctant at first to send implementors at the center.

“But the implementors have good feedback about the students. They were all very polite and hardworking. We will continue the program and we are hoping for an increase of enrollees,” she said.

Provincial Jail Warden Romeo Manansala, Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera, and implementors Ma. Daphne Teo Daño, Lissa Papas, Renan Cañedo, Orley Perico, and Bautista Montalyo were also present during the ceremony.