By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY — After years of inactivity, the dancing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) took the stage once more, this time for Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia.
Garcia, who visited the facility Thursday, teared up as she watched the inmates sashay to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.” It was the same dance routine that earned the inmates global attention.
“I can’t help but be emotional. I became sentimental watching you because it brought me back to the time when we started,” said Garcia.
The dancing inmates started performing in 2006.
Foreign and local tourists would usually pay just to watch them perform. The performances of the inmates became a global hit when videos of their dance numbers were uploaded on youtube.
The inmates stopped performing when Hilario Davide III took over as governor in 2013.
Garcia was greeted with a thunderous applause when she stepped into the quadrangle and addressed the inmates.
Before meeting the inmates, Garcia inspected the facility along with Jail Warden Reynaldo Valmoria and Cebu provincial police director Roderick Mariano.
Garcia instructed Valmoria to find ways to decongest the facility.
CPDRC is a 1,500-capacity jail but currently houses 2,525 inmates.
Valmoria was asked by the governor to fast-track the plea bargain deals of inmates who are facing minor drug charges.
Valmoria said he was awaiting the results of the drug tests so that those who will tested negative will be released.
The governor also assured that the facility will be renovated and the inmates will be provided with new uniforms and shoes.
Garcia likewise promised to bring back the cooperative that helped the inmates earn by making mats, blankets, pillowcases and other handicraft products.
“Before, you have passbooks. We will try to bring back the cooperative. We will do our best to improve your situation here but you also have to show discipline,” Garcia said.