Friday, 2 October 2009

Only in the Philippines: Cebu inmates skip meal to help Manila flood victims

By Dale G. Israel, Reporter
Cebu Daily News

Even prisoners in Mandaue City are going out of their way to help flood victims of Metro Manila.

More than 600 inmates volunteered to forego one meal today and donate their rations.
The skipped meal will translate to four sacks of rice and several canned goods.
The idea started with the jail’s 45-member staff, who decided to skip in-house birthday celebrations for October and donate the budget to typhoon victims, said Supt. Simeon Dolojo, the jail warden and an October celebrant.

Then leaders of inmates followed the cue and agreed to skip one meal today.

Mas grabe ang nahitabo nga kalisod sa Manila kaysa sa amoa, mao nga mas maayong muhatag mi (The difficulties happening in Manila are far worse than ours here, so it would be better for us to give),” said Pepito Togade, 36, leader of inmates in the Annex Building of the city jail.

The mayores or section leaders – Cherry Mendoza, 39, of the Female Dormitory, and Willy Loberanes, 49, of the Solid Building section – spread the word, and the whole prison population eventually agreed.

Lobaranes said the inmates wanted to return the favor to the public when the jail received help during an outbreak of the Influenza A subtype H1N1 virus among the prisoners.

“We received a lot of help when H1N1 struck us. This is our way of giving back,” Loberanes said in Cebuano.

Most inmates in the city jail are male, with 54 women in the Female Dormitory.
“I salute our inmates for their good gesture,“ said Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes.
“For me, this will create ripples of joy and kindness. In good times and in bad times, we are all brothers and sisters.”

Also, the Mandaue City government is donating P1 million for relief efforts in Manila.

During the City Council’s regular session yesterday, a resolution was passed authorizing Cortes to tap P1 million from the city’s calamity funds as a donation to Manila.

The donation will be coursed to the Office of the President through the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

“I was touched when the warden called me up. It was a beautiful project,” said Chief Supt. Doris Dorigo, director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Central Visayas (BJMP-7), in Tagalog.

“We can see how difficult it is for them, yet still they were quick to help.”
Dorigo visited the jail yesterday to award some jail personnel.

Inspired by the inmates’ action, Dorigo said she would require all BJMP-7 personnel to skip one meal every seven days so that the resources could be donated to flood victims.

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