ABUYOG, Leyte—Leyte Division education officials and corrections officers of the Leyte Regional Prison on Saturday(June 23)expressed appreciation to the “package of surprises” by the Standard Chartered Bank to the 63 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) or inmates at the correctional facility this town.
“We really have to thank God every day for this program. As we continue to search for partners in the operation of our senior high school to the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), we’re happy to have the support of the Standard Chartered Bank,” said Edgar Tenasas, the Leyte assistant schools division superintendent.
Tenasas, who first conceptualized on the offering of the program to the selected PDLs on June 4 after they graduated from the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program last April, thanked the employees of the Standard Chartered Bank led by Mai Sangalang, the Philippines head of Corporate Affairs/Brand and Marketing, for spending their time and money in support to the program.
Standard Chartered Bank employees donated and delivered personally school bags, shoes, socks, laptops, and computers for the 63 inmate-students of the first senior high school program.
Leyte Regional Prison Corrections Senior Superintendent Geraldo Aro also lauded the bank employees for their efforts, saying that the prison facility needs all the help from various sectors to fulfill their mandate in rehabilitating the PDLs.
“We started from scratch here. We’re always thankful of your help,” Aro said.
In his speech, he urged the inmate-learners to do their best in their studies for the benefit of their respective families and communities.
“If you’re serious with your studies here, it will have a multiplier effect. Your families will not be worried about your situation and you will become productive citizens upon your release,” he added.
Sangalang emphasized that their coming to the regional prison facility is a matter of “divine providence,” adding that it is just but right for them to arrive in the said place as it is part of their service to the community.
“We didn’t think twice about helping you. If there is one message that we would like to give you, it is the message of hope. Even though you’re here, don’t lose hope,” Sangalang told the PDLs while holding back her tears.
She also acknowledged the enthusiasm of the PDLs in their classes.
Meanwhile, Leyte schools division superintendent Ronelo Al Firmo said that the opening of senior high school inside the regional prison facility is part of his administration’s mission of providing access to education for the secondary students in the province due to its low participation rate and high drop-out rate which he found out when he assumed office in 2013.
“We started to put up high schools around Leyte. We’ve been working silently, and up to this time, we’ve learned that we already established over 30 high schools. When Tenasas presented the proposal to open a senior high school in Leyte Regional Prison, I immediately gave my go signal,” Firmo recalled on how the senior high school inside the prison facility was realized.