PDLs have always been considered minorities in every society in the world even before the advent of modern restorative justice. An abbreviation, PDLs stands for the politically correct and formal term Persons Deprived of Liberty, which supersedes the following less humane, trauma-inducing terms: prisoners, inmates, and detainees. Although the term prisoner is still used in many countries such as the United States, it is perhaps here in the Philippines that the now-used nomenclature is becoming more mainstreamed in terms of its use by the Bureau of Corrections and by media outfits. The use of the term PDLs also reflects their self-worth without emphasizing heavily on their legal transgressions of varying degrees of severity.
Are we according PDLs the respect that they deserve as they journey towards genuine reformation and restorative justice? Or are we just being respectful only because we pity them for their current plight?
We are all called by God to show mercy and compassion towards PDLs. However, because society has generally condemned them to suffering from eternal ostracism and loss of vocational and rehabilitative opportunities for their reintegration into mainstream society, PDLs- including those who have just been released through parole, consummation of sentence, or pardon- have been suffering both outwardly and inwardly due to the stigma they receive from not a few people.
Not all PDLs are hardcore criminals, though. There are still many of them who are innocent to the core and have just been unjustly accused of the crimes they have no knowledge of. Discriminating against them and treating them like pariahs of our society are akin to parading them like pigs about to be slaughtered and to quartering them to death. Though many PDLs are truly guilty of the crimes they have committed, especially those who have committed less heinous offenses and those who have not snuffed the life out of at least one innocent citizen, they still deserve to be given a second shot at life and to be accorded the opportunity to reform themselves.
Many PDLs who have been deprived of the right to schooling have been provided with the chance to complete their education before they are released and then reintegrated into society. Thanks to dedicated outside teachers (salaried or volunteer) as well as inmates who serve as teachers, many of our PDLs are already reaching for their dreams despite their difficult situations and are on their way to gaining an education.
Educating our PDLs is a major achievement for our correctional system today. However, the stigmata of being a PDL and of experiencing birth pains in reintegrating into mainstream society are prevalent up to the present.
Why should we educate our PDLs, then? Here are the top five reasons why:
1. They yearn to learn, relearn, and unlearn. PDLs need to develop new skills and competencies, so they deserve to undergo proper education.
2. PDLs are just like you and me with many challenges and difficulties. They deserve all the help from their teachers, who must treat them respectfully. Hence, we need to praise PDLs who decide to finish their education despite life’s twists and turns.
3. PDLs need to start anew. In order to have an orderly and reform-oriented society, we need to motivate PDLs to enrich their skills, talents, and knowledge for their successful rehabilitation.
4. Illiteracy and lack of formal education tend to be factors that contribute to criminality. Society tends to make the sun shine for those who are educated and erudite. As Filipinos, we need to change this prejudicial mindset by motivating everyone to finish formal education and beyond.
5. Education is everyone’s inalienable birthright and sacred human right. Enough said.
To ensure that our society is almost practically free from dregs, we must start with education, which is easier said than done but could be done not just by one but everyone.
What our PDLs worldwide need now are education, reformation, understanding, support, care, and- above all- love.
Happy Teachers’ Month!
Mabuhay ang mga gurong Pilipino sa bawat panig ng ating mundo!
GUESS WHAT, GUESS WHO!
GUESS WHAT: Wanton antagonism and antipathy towards students are the hallmarks of this college professor from a state university in the Southern Luzon area. According to my source, who is now a soldier affiliated with one of the branches of the AFP, our subject failed him just because the former found the latter impertinent and hubristic even if the aforementioned qualities turned out to be erroneous and biased. As a result, my source (an education major) dropped out of college in frustration, que horror de impertinenteng matador! And to add insult to injury, my source has never seen our subject since then. Yes, Virginia, the professor in question happens to be almost similar to a cavalier, curt professor from a technology-related college of a major state university in Central Luzon, sus santissima Trinidad Concepcion de altapresyon!
What are the lessons of the story? Never fail your students without just cause. Be a fair teacher, not a fair-weather one. It never hurts to know your students in-depth. Never judge a book by its cover.
GUESS WHO: Who is this female broadcast journalist from one of the longest-running and leading radio stations in the Philippines who is impormal kausap? My source, a well-known teacher and media practitioner, wanted to have a guest appearance on our subject’s morning show. However, my source was only seen-zoned. Hence, my source has grown to detest the broadcaster who sounds like a cooing Minnie Riperton (but in fact has the attitude of a diva). Que barbaridad y el bobo dela yucca!
What are the lessons of the story? Do not ignore your potential guests for they may bring glory and prestige to your show. Being a veteran broadcaster does not grant you the license to be antipathetic, unless you happen to be Celia Rodriguez, Rosemarie Gil, Tita de Villa, Etang Discher or Bella Flores (onscreen, of course). Welcome guests with open arms and be good to them. Never ever ignore someone who wants to be a guest on your show, especially if one happens to be a fan.
If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email. You may also message me on Facebook through any of my two working accounts: Jet Ramos (personal) and CoachJet Ramos (new and publicly official). You may also view my inspirational videos through my official YouTube account (my comeback started just last September 06): Coach Jet’s Weekday Inspirations. Another channel, called Jet R, will be launched on October 07 (finally) and will feature your Ilocano Educator’s original poems in English and Filipino.