By Chito Chavez
Believing in giving “second chances’’, Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte vowed to provide education and livelihood opportunities to the city’s persons deprived of liberty (PDL).
The move is patterned after the model instituted for female inmates in Davao City as it would help uplift their morale and encourage inmates to change their ways.
“I personally witnessed here in Davao that services are being provided to teach inmates new livelihood skills and to encourage them to be productive. I want to bring this kind of opportunities in our city,” said Belmonte.
The vice-mayor spoke before the inmates of Ray of Hope Village in her recent visit in Davao City.
Belmonte also mentioned that she was inspired to bring reforms in jails in Quezon City as she saw how Davao values the rights of its women prisoners.
“I’m very inspired to see that in a correctional facility, we can still offer opportunities to our people like education, livelihood programs, physical activities and such. That way, we can see that they want to change for themselves and for their families,” she added.
Belmonte has high hopes that Quezon City’s inmates will be encouraged to mend their ways citing the opportunity to gain livelihood, go back to school and gain friends despite their predicament.
“I know some of us have a different mind-set towards people in the correctional, but it can definitely change if we will just give them a chance to prove that they can be a better person,” Belmonte stressed.
As head of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC), Belmonte has worked to likewise provide second chances to drug users who have surrendered under “Oplan Tokhang”.
In December, Belmonte headed the commencement ceremony of almost 560 graduates of the QCADAAC’s community-based drug rehabilitation program where she mentioned that government intervention is important to provide avenues for drug surrenderers to improve their lives.