|Parolees and probationers expressed their delight in knowing that their requested materials are approved and shall be awarded upon them.|
Jasper (not his real name*) sits patiently inside WODP Training Center, Lipa City. Dressed simply—a combination of white shirt and black maong pants—and with hands clasped together, he randomly threw a smile to his 50 fellow parolees and probationers who, just like him, were to receive livelihood grants from DOLE-Batangas Provincial Office (BPO). Once in a while, this 36-year-old, Lipa-City native would wipe his forehead with his drawn-from-the-bag towel and stomp his foot: an indication of the ironic, simultaneous feeling of nervousness and excitement.
After a while, the simple awarding program would start, and one could not but notice the smiles that now paint the face of everyone, no longer of Jasper alone.
|Dir. Tan and Ms. Milet C. Salamat, DOLE-BPO’s livelihood key person, (L-R of second picture) smile with the beneficiaries.|
"Actually, this is our fifth year na magbibigay ng livelihood assistance sa mga parolees and probationers. Yung unang taon, sampu lang. Ngayon, fifty na. Mas marami na rin matatanggap: food-vending, carpentry-welding, farming-gardening, shoe-and-umbrella-repair, barber and sewing packages. Nakakatuwa na dumarami ang natutulungan. At umaasa kami na mapapalago n'yo ito tulad ng mga nauna", Dir. Predelma M. Tan of DOLE-BPO said last March 8, pertaining to the the Php10,000-worth of goods and items for each beneficiary.
When Jasper has received his welding set, he was almost teary-eyed, saying "God is seldom early, but never late". He explained that has been waiting for such blessing for quite some time. Even though he is currently employed at a construction company, the welding equipment, according to him, will remain a great help in earning extra income and in feeding his family.
Region IV-A Director Edita K. Buemio of Parole and Probation Administration, who was likewise present during the event, addressed Jasper and the rest of the parolees and probationers, "Congratulations sa inyo. Mapalad kayo dahil may mga taong patuloy na nagtitiwala. Ang mga binigay sa inyo, wag pababayaan. Tangkilikin. Sinupin. Palaguin. At patuloy na taasan ang pangarap."
As the hall gets empty of the livelihood kits, it becomes full of hearts filled with gratitude and hope. And yes, Jasper has one of those hearts.
*Jasper, who was imprisoned from 2004 and is now a 3-year-old parolee, specifically requested that his real name be kept confidential for this article. In the spirit of fair journalism, we heed his request.
Karl Joseph D. Sanmocte