Press Release
October 30, 2012

Cayetano launches BILIB I.T. program for detainees

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, in line with his advocacy for prisoners' welfare, launched BILIB IT - an information technology (IT) program designed to give detainees the necessary skills to rejoin the country's workforce once their sentence ends.

He, along with his wife Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano and Technical and Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, graced the event to award program scholarships to the deserving detainees.

The senator, in cooperation with Informatics and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), sees this initiative as a chance to maximize the reform and rehabilitation function of the country's criminal justice system.

He emphasized that the principle behind the Philippine criminal justice system is aimed towards the rehabilitation of criminal offenders rather than on their punishment and that providing education to criminal offenders is the key element for their effective rehabilitation.

"Most of our detainees, even when convicted, will not be sentenced to life imprisonment. So how do we help in their reintegration after they have served their time? We should give them the chance to make a living and become productive members of society in the future," he said.

"Rehabilitation rather than retribution is the key policy of the State that we must adhere to," he added.

Cayetano explained that the scholars who can qualify for the program are those who have served their sentence but preferred to live inside the penal community due to lack of skills necessary to rejoin the work force, detainees who have minimum security, and those inmates with sentences not longer than 6 years.

He said that while the program will be spearheaded in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, he hopes that other local government units will also be encouraged to set up similar programs in their respective detention centers.

Using the United States practice of allowing inmates to do call center work for non-sensitive matters as an example, the minority leader also expressed his willingness to work with BJMP and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work on guidelines allowing Taguig inmates to do the same.

"Step one is the training. But we'll see if we can try building call centers inside jail facilities to help these detainees utilize their training and gain employment. I eventually want to get there because it's a step further towards better rehabilitation," he said.

The lawmaker pointed out that this initiative is part of his IT advocacy as evidenced by the IT scholarships offered by his office to the city of Taguig.

Under the IT scholarship program in Taguig, 155 scholars have successfully finished different courses such as Finishing Course for Call Center Agents (FCCCA), computer Hardware Servicing (CHS), Computer Programming, and Web Design.

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