Learning On-Air, Behind Bars

Posted by: 

Alias "Jeremiah" receiving his certificate as the Top 3 student of the SOA on Organic Agriculture. With him are Ms. Hazel Grace T. Taganas, OIC-Center Director, ATI-RTC 8 (left) and J/SINSP Marvin L. Cubio (right)

BAYBAY CITY, Leyte - Rehabilitation is the process of re-educating and retraining those who commit crime. It is important so that inmates become law abiding citizens and at the same time enhance their knowledge and skills through different activities.

The Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center 8 (ATI-RTC 8) has been conducting School-on the-Air in different areas of the region. This year, SOA made its first city-wide implementation in Baybay City focusing on Organic Agriculture. Seeing the need to increase awareness about Organic Agriculture to a wider range of audiences, ATI-RTC 8 reached out to Senior High Schools, 4-H youth, and even the Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL).

“I’d like to thank ATI for granting our request of having these kind of activities and opportunities”, said Jail Officer Arnil Marte. He was very grateful to have attended this activity because it would be a great help in educating his family and neighbors back in his barangay not to use synthetic fertilizers or insecticides for their farm. Through the program, he was encouraged to plant his own vegetables for family consumption to ensure the safety of the food they are eating. As personnel of the BJMP, despite having a permanent job, he looks forward to attend these kinds of trainings because it helps him gain more knowledge in different fields. He encourages the inmates to remember what they learned, keep their notes, because it will be very useful for livelihood or hobby as soon as they will be released from the jail.

The SOA on Organic Agriculture tackled topics on Land Preparation, Formulating Bio-inputs, Control of Soil Borne Diseases, Care and Management, and the Laws governing Organic Agriculture to name a few. The activity aired from August to October 2019. Exams and quizzes were also given to the inmates to evaluate the increase of knowledge during the SOA activity and also, to identify the top performing students who could qualify for the Face-to-Face exam. (Read more: http://ati.da.gov.ph/ati-8/news/11192019-1344/city-wide-soa-students-que...) As for the Baybay City Jail PDL, and out of over six hundred (600) SOA listeners from different areas in Baybay City, one of them qualified in the Top 10 graduating students.

Thirty-seven Baybay City Jail PDL attended the special SOA graduation ceremony on October 24, 2019. As a treat, agricultural inputs and freebies were given to them. One inmate was recognized as Third Outstanding student in the SOA on Organic Agriculture.

During his testimony, Top 3 graduate “Jeremiah” (not his real name) said, “Despite us being here inside prison, ATI looked for ways to reach out and shared knowledge for us when it comes to organic farming.” He looks forward to use the knowledge he gained when he gets released from prison. He also hopes for more trainings in the near future.

During his message, J/SINSP Marvin L. Cubio encouraged the inmates to continue learning and to apply these as well. “You have all your personal choices.” He also encouraged them to choose the right track and as changed people, become inspirations to their family and their community. He looks forward to more collaborations with ATI in terms of skills training for the PDLs.

In response, Ms. Hazel Grace T. Taganas, OIC- Center Director of ATI-RTC 8 encouraged the inmates to continue learning. “Out of the 10,000 things you can do outside while you were still free, you still have many things left to do here inside, one is the ability to learn”, she said. “Never forget the hands that taught you. At the same time, use your hands to reach out and teach others.” She said that the knowledge they gained can never be taken from them, but that knowledge can be shared. She too was open for more activities for the PDLs especially on the proposed training on Meat Processing come December 2019.

The Mass Graduation for the SOA on Organic Agriculture was held on October 30, 2019. Over 600 students/listeners from different areas and schools in Baybay City graduated in the said activity.

In this article: