The Department of Education (DepEd) will build a stand-alone senior high school and a community college inside the Leyte Regional Prison (LRP) in Abuyog town.
In an interview Friday, DepEd-Leyte Division Assistant Superintendent Edgar Tenasas said the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has allocated a 20,000-square-meter space for the facilities.
Proposed structures include a two-story building with six classrooms, a library, a computer laboratory, and a gymnasium inside the prison grounds.
“Later on, if we already have the permit and recognition of the government, we will establish the Cagbolo Senior High stand-alone within the regional prison complex,” Tenasas said.
In 2018, DepEd-Leyte launched the senior high school for persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who passed the alternative learning system program screening at the regional prison.
Inmates have been attending classes in temporary learning spaces from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Eight teachers have been assigned for the regular senior high school program.
Tenasas said the goal is to equip prisoners with life skills they can use when they reintegrate with today’s technologically-driven society.
“Without even knowing, this is the first of its kind in the Philippines. There is one in New Bilibid Prison, but it is initiated by a private institution,” he said.
The senior high class in the penal colony serves as a special class of a nearby high school since DepEd-Leyte cannot create a new secondary school immediately due to lengthy documentary preparations.
“If we want total nation-building, we also have to take care of those inside the prison. So, when they go out, they will become responsible citizens,” Ramil Uytico, DepEd 8 (Eastern Visayas) director, said in a separate interview.
The first batch of the senior high program at the LRP will receive their diplomas on April 3.
The DepEd is also pushing for the opening of a community college in the regional prison, in partnership with other institutions, including the Abuyog Community College and the Leyte Normal University.
Source: Philippines News Agency