MANILA-- Monday's celebration of Women's Month was one of the few times of joy and laughter for the women confined at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) residents along Nueve de Febrero, Mandaluyong City during their get-together with participants from the different offices of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
An advocacy project of Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns and Operations, Ana Maria Paz R. Banaag, this is the second encounter for the CIW and PCOO personnel whose efforts to bring them cheer out of the doldrums of living.
It all started a few years ago when I was with the Office of the Ombudsman when I was shown the plight of women who have committed a mistake or crime in life for once. It tore my heart to see mothers, sister young, children and their families separated from their loved ones at a time when they needed support and comfort at a crucial time of their life, said Banaag.
I vowed to help these poor females to get out of their confinement and rejoin the mainstream of living because they are needed as light or post of their respective families for the present and the future. If they committed a mistake for once, why forgive them and give them another chance. After all, no one is perfect in this world, she said.
As Banaag heard the cheers of the inmates, she said that everyone must help the women jailed for different causes due to necessity and protection for themselves and their loved ones.
How I wish all the association of men and women, especially those involved in dispensation of justice particularly for those who have less in life would come out and join us defend our hapless women. I ask everyone now to help them while they are still alive and useful to the everyone, she said.
An inmate at the maximum security said since the last GAD-PCOO event conducted last December 2, some 695 inmates have nurtured the hopes of being set free out of the 24 dormitories located in a wide span of government land.
A still beautiful 66-year old Ms Fely Magtibay, a former night club manager who was caught in a police raid as an accomplice of a criminal, said as a widow with two children who have families of their own but crying for her is praying and hoping that she soon regain her freedom while she is still able to see her grandchildren grow to become good citizens.
A former flight stewardess said she will be joining her family soon. She was involved in drugs some years back and regrets her misdeed and stressed she would never allow any member of her family get in touch with the illegal substance.
Most of the inmates are happy with the thought that President Rodrigo Duterte would give pardon and release jailed people who are at least 70 years old because many of the women at the CIW are nearing or at least 70 years already.
They are also begging for lawyers who would help them pro bono or free because most of them do not have the means to pay for their legal defense.
Some of them said while they are happy with their present living condition such as free food, medical treatment and all-around safety, they still long to be with their loved ones who will take care and comfort them in their twilight years.
Another encounter will take place in the coming months to the joy of the ladies as some of them will be given their walking papers.
The PCOO group of employees, danced the zumba with such zest and zing, showed back clippings, plugs and records of happy times in the Institute, sang heart-rending love songs and serenaded the appreciative women before a joyful lunch with the visitors.
Source: Philippines News Agency