Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano recently launched BILIB IT, an information technology (IT) program designed to provide inmates the necessary skills to rejoin the country’s workforce, particularly, in the IT industry after they have served their jail sentences.
The senator, in cooperation with Informatics Philippines and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), said the program seeks to enhance and underscore the significance of the reform and rehabilitation function of the country’s criminal justice system.
He emphasized that after delivering justice by convicting and punishing crime offenders, the next important function of the Philippine criminal justice system is to rehabilitate criminal offenders and enable them to be rejoin society as productive citizens.
The senator pointed out that “the aim of the program is to give second chances to some of the inmates who are also victims of society.”
“Most of our detainees are not sentenced to life imprisonment, so how can they be helped in their reintegration after they have served their time? We should give them the chance to gain livelihood 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,” the senatoradded.
Cayetano explained that the inmates that can qualify to join the program are inmates who have served their jail sentences and are keen on acquiring new work skills needed in the IT sector, and inmates considered for minimum security whose maximum jail sentences are not longer than 6 years.
He said that while the program is being initiated in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, he expressed the hope that other local government units will also be encouraged to set up similar programs.
Citing the United States policy allowing inmates to do call center work for non-sensitive services and products, the minority leader expressed his willingness to work with BJMP and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to draft the guidelines that would allow Taguig inmates to possibly work as call center agents as well.
“But first the qualified must be trained then we’ll see if we can build call centers inside jail facilities where the trained inmates can utilize their training and gain employment,” he said. “ This is what rehabilitation is all about,” he added.
The lawmaker said BILIB IT is part of his advocacy to promote IT as an industry in the country. His office provides scholarships on IT education to qualified scholars.
The senator’s IT scholarship program in Taguig has provided 155 scholars opportunities to complete various IT courses such as Finishing Course for Call Center Agents (FCCCA), Computer Hardware Servicing (CHS), Computer Programming, and Web Design.