“Construction is just one aspect of transformation. But what is more important is the transformation of the heart.”
These were the words of Mayor Sherwin T. Gatchalian during the inauguration of the new PhP 37,516,971 five-storey city jail yesterday, June 24, 2013.
The building has a total floor area of 1,900 square meters. The entire ground floor was allotted for the offices of the jail warden and personnel. It has a total of 12 large cells, three(3) each from second to fifth floor, with toilet and bathroom. All floors except the first have a visiting area. The recorded 598 in mates now already occupy the cells, with the second floor exclusively designated for female inmates who are now numbered at 48.
There is also a clinic located at the second floor. A mini-counter that offers food and beverages for sale is also situated both at second and third floors. Isolation rooms are positioned at third and fourth floors. The roof deck will be turned into a basketball court for physical and leisure activities of inmates.
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Deputy Chief for Administration and Operation, J/CSUP Doris Remedios-Dorigo said that the event could serve as a kick-off for BJMP’s 22nd anniversary celebration with the theme “Makabago at Makataong Piitan Tungo sa Matuwid na Daan.”
She commended Mayor WIN for building a conducive environment for detainees’ reformation which is comparable to detention facilities in the United States. “This building is a landmark of compassion and social responsibility which reflects the heart of a good leader like the Honorable Mayor Gatchalian,”she said.
Mayor WIN further stated that providing a favorable environment for the inmates is not the only solution. “Through a thorough intervention and transformation programs, we can assure that they can become Valenzuelanos with a new and better life,” He said.
Aside from the project, the Valenzuela City Jail will be included in the annual appropriation of the local government unit with a budget of PhP 2.46 million.
According to Dorigo, the bureau, which has very scarce resources, seldom gets this kind of attention from a LGU. She, therefore, calls the move by the city government “an innovative and dynamic partnership with the BJMPin the aspect of penitentiary reforms.”
Also joining the inauguration were Valenzuela City Jail Warden J/CSUPT Flory Sanchez, BJMP Regional Director J/SSUPT Romeo Vio, Norther Police District (NPD) Director P/CSUPT Joel Alvarez, J/SSUPT Carolina Borrinaga, Valenzuela City Acting Chief-of-Police P/CSUPT Rhoderick Armamento, DILG-Valenzuela City Director Ms. Daisy Eslaban, City Engineering Office Officer-in-Charge Ms. Praceli Nelson, Surigao del Sur Councilor Lerios Placer, the Valenzuela City Management Team, and members of the religious and non-government organizations.