Captain Edo Lobenia, Jail Senior Inspector at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) – Davao Region, advocates for better social reintegration of former Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs). His project ‘Second Chance Philippines’, developed under the Future Bridging Leaders Program (FBLP) 3, provides former jail inmates employment assistance and other services that may help them start their lives anew outside of prison.
Piloting the project in January this year, Edo and his team conducted information campaigns and established a network of businesses in the Davao Region who believe in their advocacy. One of these businesses is Sureplus Davao, an agricultural product distributor based in Davao City, which hired fifteen (15) former PDLs referred by the Second Chance Philippines team in October. This November, Jargon Construction Supply employed twenty (20) former PDLs in their company. The team also convinced a number of gasoline stations, handicraft shops, spa wellness centers, and other enterprises in the region to partner with them by employing their referrals.
|(L) Jun Besoyo, a former PDL and a self-employed automotive painter. (R) Jinky Salucan, a former PDL and an employee at a gasoline station.
Aware that some PDLs need urgent cash assistance post-release, Edo and his team have also formed a partnership with the E-Care Foundation to set up a Loan Assistance Program. This has been particularly helpful for inmates who were released amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty (20) former PDLs were able to avail of cash loans with zero interest, which helped them cope and survive despite the crisis.
To expand Second Chance Philippines’ offerings to former PDLs, Edo recently launched the Second Chance Agri Farm – a mini livestock farm where former PDLs can engage in agricultural pursuits to earn an income. Edo bought a small parcel of land in Barangay Calinan, Davao City with his personal savings. He believes that the mini farm will serve as an example of how former PDLs can be productive members of society if only given a chance. He has partnered with the Department of Agriculture Region XI, Vitarich Corporation, and Cavalier Agrivet Supply for technical assistance in farm development.
|Edgar Obenieta, a former PDL, is now working at the Second Chance Agri Farm to raise livestock.
Edo envisions his advocacy to be elevated to the legislative level. He is currently preparing the outline of an ordinance for the creation of the ‘Davao City Inter-Agency Coordinating Council on Social Reintegration of Former PDLs’ – which he plans to lobby to the City Government of Davao. He hopes that this ordinance can be replicated by other cities/municipalities and be eventually brought to the national level.
Get to meet Edo and other fellows at the FBLP 3 Online Public Recital happening this November to know more about their exciting change projects.
For more details or inquiries about Bridging Leadership and the next FBLP cohort, you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.