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Editorial | Livelihood behind bars

This newspaper reported early this month that of every 10 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in the region, eight of them have been into livelihood activities.

Using the ratio that was provided by Jail Insp. Ellen Rose C. Saragena, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Community Relations Service regional chief, of the 5,000 PDLs, about 4,000 of them are earning modest incomes even if they are languishing in jails.

Ms. Saragena even admitted that even when her agency does not have any fund for such initiative, as it only has a meager P70 for the meals of these PDLs, it has been able to partner with other agencies and other groups to ensure that these people have the small fund to start their initiatives.

And because of these income-earning initiatives, even families whose parents are inside detention cells, they are able to send small amounts to their children who have been suffering from the realities of losing parents to circumstances that they may or may not have created.

Taking the situation into account – as this paper also reported two years ago an initiative to educate those who have been in detention centers – it is necessary both for government and civic organizations to look at how these initiatives can be reinforced.

The initiatives are just small parts of the program to help PDLs to become productive even if they end up staying in detention cells for longer time. But helping them generate income may not be of much impact on them, but on the families that they have left behind especially the children who have to bear the burden of not having any or both parents as they grow up.

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