JAIL LIBRARY. Persons deprived of liberty read the books available at the library inside the Davao City Jail (DCJ) Annex on Monday (March 13, 2023). The first in the Davao Region, the Social Entrepreneurship Technology and Business Institute College, the backbone of “College Education Behind Bars,” funded the library's construction. (PNA photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.)

DAVAO CITY – The first library in a jail facility in the Davao Region opened at the Davao City Jail (DCJ) Annex here Monday.

The Social Entrepreneurship Technology and Business Institute (SETBI) College, the backbone of the "College Education Behind Bars" project, funded the construction of the library.

In an interview Tuesday, DCJ-Annex jail officer Harvey Bryan Malnegro said persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) enrolled in the SETBI and the alternative learning system (ALS) could use their library from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Currently, eight PDLs from the facility are enrolled in the SETBI program, and 80 PDLs for ALS.

"This is intended for our students. We will provide them borrowers’ card for them to bring the books inside their cells," Malnegro said.

He said the tiny nook between the College Education Behind Bars and DCJ-Annex was transformed and furnished with shelves for the books.

"We hope the books will inspire and add more knowledge to our PDLs," he said, noting that a lot of books were donated before the opening of the library.

“The shelves were easily filled when we called for donations through our Facebook page," Malnegro added.

Jail Chief Supt. Isabelo Cartin Jr., Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) 11 (Davao Region) director, lauded the series of activities initiated by the jail management, citing the importance of the library's opening.

"It has been the first jail to do such regionwide," Cartin said, pledging to bring in computers and electric fans to make the students comfortable while inside the library.

SETBI vice president Susan Cariaga also pledged to digitalize books to make them more available to the PDLs. (PNA)