Press Release
September 5, 2006


A legislative measure is now being considered by the Senate that would tap the potentials of prisoners for productive work as part of the reformatory process by expanding TRAINING services in vocational courses.

The scheme, according to Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban), aims to make the prisoners productive members of society and restore their self-esteem, as well as prepare them for future employment, especially after they have served their jail terms.

Pimentel is proposing for the creation of a Technical Institute within the premises of the National Bilibid Prison Reservation in Muntinlupa City and the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.

There should be a shift away from the punitive-custodial approach toward the rehabilitative model of corrections. A correctional institution should be a place wherein prisoners may review their mistakes and test their potential, he said.

In this regard, he said vocational rehabilitation can help national prisoners become aware of their own value to the country and community as this will enable them to live as self-sufficient, useful and productive citizens.

More importantly, the stigma of imprisonment or a criminal record would no longer be a bar to future employment, particularly in the field of skilled work, Pimentel explained.

Pimentel said the overall mission of a correctional institution should now be the development of new paths of social behavior that would restore prisoners as fully-functioning members of society. Thus, he said there should be greater emphasis on rehabilitation programs which would bring about such behavioral changes to prisoners.

Under the proposal, Technical Institute in National Bilibid Prison and Correctional Institute for Women shall provide relevant and high-quality programs in skills development and technical and vocational training.

To strengthen manpower education and training, the Technical Institute shall offer hard and soft or modular trade courses.

The hard trade courses, which shall run from six to 24 months, shall include metal craft, automotive welding, building wiring and electrical, refrigeration and air-conditioning and computer technician services.

Soft trade courses which shall be taught for only three months include audio-video, industrial sewing, machine operation and novelty accessories, paper craft and stuffed toy making.

Modular trade courses, which shall be a good for three to four weeks, include reflexology, candle making, beads assembly, fossilized flower making, fresh flower arrangement, and soap-making.

The Technical Institute which shall be headed by a director general, shall have an initial budget of P100 million for its first year of implementation. Prisoners who will participate in the skills training and job program are entitled to receive commission for every government equipment assembled or repaired.

In proposing the vocational rehabilitation program behind prison walls, Pimentel said prisoners represent a great source of wasted and undeveloped human potential. He stressed that no society can long afford to deny participation in nation-building to any large number of its members.

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