Written by SJO2 Sheila Marie Domingo- Sapaden
JSINSP HERMINIGILDO B RIVERA, the newly designated Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Laoag City is geared on taking Laoag City Jail to the higher level. This was his clear message during his initial meeting and dialogue with the personnel and inmates of Laoag City Jail immediately after he assumed his post last 29 December 2011. Rivera stressed out that he will continue the legacy that his predecessor initiated and vowed to further improve the existing facilities of the jail to create a homey atmosphere, initiate reforms, strengthen inmates’ welfare and development programs and scout and introduce innovative trends in the aspect of jail management.
Laoag City Jail is indubitable one of the best jails in the country today due to its unprecedented transformation and development but far beyond that, Rivera wants to make Laoag City Jail a model jail – a representation of the vision and mission of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, a showcase of the best jail service one could ever imagine.
Relative to this, Rivera has launched a program dubbed as “My LCJ: A Home Away From Home” which underscores his plans and programs for the sustained transformation and development of Laoag City Jail. He plans to depict Laoag City Jail not just an ordinary jail facility but a temporary home for persons deprived of liberty who have gone astray along their ways. For this reason, Rivera wants to imbue a sense of belongingness to all the inmates to make them feel that they are still part of the community during their incarceration and on the other hand, aims to raise public awareness and acceptance.
At the onset of the year, the new warden paid courtesy calls to various heads of agencies particularly to the City Mayor, Hon. Michael V. Fariñas, to gain continued support for the city jail. It is interesting to note that the Laoag City Government, through the city mayor, has been very supportive to all the projects of the past administration, whether on a small or a larger scale. In addition, Rivera also plans to tap the support of various non-government organizations, religious groups and capable private individuals to realize his plans and programs for the city jail.
On top of the list is the construction of a separate female cell which was already approved by the city mayor. Construction will begin anytime soon, pending the delivery of needed materials, and upon completion of the project, the existing female cell will be converted into an infirmary to accommodate inmates with sickness or those with communicable diseases especially during the summer season when water shortage is imminent.
Rivera also plans to construct a multi-purpose hall to accommodate various inmates’ welfare and development programs like interfaith activities for the spiritual upliftment of the inmates; conduct of Therapeutic Community Modality Program as part of the moral recovery program of the bureau; cultural and other recreational activities to nourish and enhance the talents and skills of inmates and to address the demands of the Alternative Learning System for a wider access of free education for the under privileged. In addition, the new warden aims to promote Laoag City Jail as a viable location for various technical trainings and seminars thereby strengthening the livelihood programs for the inmates.
These are but a few of the plans and programs of the new warden for the continued transformation and development of the city jail.
Indeed, greater opportunities are coming for Laoag City Jail under a new administration. With the support of the city government and the community as a whole and the cooperation of the personnel and the inmates, Rivera is very optimistic in moving Laoag to a new dimension, farther and further!