'BULALO' KEYCHAINS. These keychains are carefully prepared, crafted, and sewn by 'Carlo', a person deprived of liberty at the Baguio City Jail Male Dorm using 'bulalo' bone. The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology allows PDLs to participate in livelihood activities not just to earn but to hone their skills that they can use once they return to the community upon release. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – Spending more than two years in jail brought out the artistry and ingenuity of a person deprived of liberty (PDL) which helped him earn and support his family.

"Carlo" (not his real name), 39, said he thought of converting the "bulalo"(beef bone marrow soup) bone into a keychain due to its unique shape and firm texture.

"Naisip ko na itatapon lang naman ito pero pwedeng pagkakitaan kung makikita ng mga nagtitinda ng bulalo at gagawin nilang souvenir item para sa regular customers nila (I thought this will be another trash for them but for me, I can use it to make money especially if it will be seen by the bulalo sellers and will give it to their regular customers as a souvenir)," Carlo said on the sidelines of last week’s greyhound operation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) at the Baguio City Jail Male Dorm (BCJMD).

"Carlo", who is in jail for murder, said he wants to be productive while inside the facility.

"Maliit lang ang kinikita pero kaysa wala. Kahit papaano may naiaabot ako sa pamilya ko kapag may nabebenta (I earn only a small income, if my product is sold, which I give to my family)," "he said.

Carlo also makes tambo (reed) products, sand art, and others to earn some money.

The jail management buys the raw materials needed in the process and helps market the products online or at trade fairs where they showcase the PDLs' different handicrafts.

BCJMD warden Supt. Mary Ann Ollaging Tresmanio said the PDLs are provided skills through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and other partners.

She said the livelihood activities are provided as part of the humane safekeeping mission of the BJMP.

"There are PDLs who return to the community when their cases are dismissed and the BJMP wants them to be prepared to live a decent life capable of earning a living," she said.

She said the livelihood activities are provided to make the PDLs make use of their time for productive activities. (PNA)