The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology – National Capital Region (BJMP-NCR) Regional Office held its quarterly Jail Paralegal Officers’ (JPO) Kamustahan last March 20 at the 5th floor Conference Room, Seneca Plaza Building.
HLAF supported the event by providing snacks for the attendees, and a stress debriefing session by partnering with National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) in the Philippines. The event was attended by JPOs from all the jails in NCR.
The Warden of Las Piñas City Jail and the Chief Jail Paralegal Officer J/C Supt, Joe Jay P. Arejola, welcomed the participants to the event. He thanked the organizers for having the opportunity to be there to meet new and old faces among the JPOs. He then went directly to a very important issue for the jails – the releases through the use of the good conduct time allowance. He said that the National Capital Region had a low number of releases despite having the most congested jails in the Philippines. It came third, next to Region 7 and Region 9.
After his welcome remarks, he proceeded to lecture about the good conduct time allowance, together with JO3 Michael San Agustin. They pointed out the relevant concerns for the JPOs such as how to compute for the time allowances when to compute for those crimes punishable with life imprisonment, when to begin computing the time allowances, and who are eligible to receive time allowances. They also discussed the procedures and the bodies that were in charge of providing the time allowances. The open forum was also held simultaneously with the discussions, which made the topic more interesting and relevant for the JPOs.
After the discussion, the NADA Philippines provided ear acupuncture to some of the JPOs who wanted to experience it. At the end of the activity, those who had availed of the acupuncture said that they felt more relaxed, achieving the intended results for the stress debriefing session.
To close the event, Regional Director Romeo Elisan, Jr. said that he was thankful for the support of HLAF and NADA Philippines. He reflected on the importance of the good conduct time allowance, especially since from having a national jail population of 26,000 last year, we now have 33,000. He highlighted that the number of inmates are increasing but the jail capacities are not. He said that the more inmates there are, the riskier the job gets.
In saying all these, he also shared that it is also important to see the inmates as mere numbers. Each inmate is an actual person that they provide services to. In the end, he thanked the JPOs and told them that all their hard work will pay off eventually, especially those who are taking up law.