A Bicol native graduated at the top of his batch of graduates during the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD)-Bilibid Extension School 33rd commencement rites at the Medium Security Compound in New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City on Friday, September 9.
John Sale (not real name) is one of 21 student-inmates who received their diplomas in the graduation rites with this year’s theme “Empowering Altogether Rising Through Hurdles” inside the Collegiate Extension School in Muntinlupa.
“Natupad ko na po yung pangarap ko na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral, habang binubuno ko po ang sentence ko dito sa Medium Security, and also natupad ko din po yung bilin ng mother ko na magtapos ako ng pag-aaral, maraming salamat po sa University of Perpetual Help sa napakagandang programa nila po sa mga persons deprived of liberty o PDL na tulad ko,” John said.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Usec. Gerald Bantag was the special guest of the program. He was represented by Asec. Milfredo Melegrito, Deputy Director General for Operations.
Usec. Deo Marco of the Department of Justice (DoJ) was the guest of honor and speaker as the 84 Persons Deprived of Liberty graduated with degrees in Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship and from Senior High School.
John Sale was this year’s Academic Excellence Award (Gold Medalist), Proficiency Awardee, and Co-Curricular Leadership awardee for Performing Arts.
Of the 84 graduates, 21 completed their full BS Entrepreneurship degree, while 63 others finished their Senior HS studies inside the national penitentiary facilities in three batches.
“Nakapunta na ako ng iba’t-ibang graduation, but today iba ito sa lahat. I’m very proud of each one of you graduates, maka-graduate ka sa loob ng Bilibid is different,” Marco said in his speech.
“I hope upon serving your sentence, you will be back to your respective families with a new beginning. Hold on to your hope, to live well, everyone needs to have a chance and hope, and allow me to help you to process your needs on paper,” the undersecretary added.
The annual in-person graduation at the Bilibid Extension School was postponed for the years 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UPHSD Las Pinas Campus recently was awarded in the CHED 2022 Asean Icons (International Champions of Nation-Building and Sustainability) Internationalization Awards under the category “Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” for its Bilibid Extension School program.
The awarding was held last August 26 at the Hilton Hotel in Pasay City.
More than 600 student-PDLs have graduated from the extension school since it was established in 1985. Some of the students who HAVE completed their prison terms are now employed outside the Bilibid compound.
Dr. Antonio L. Tamayo, Chairman of the Board, CEO, and founder of the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) said the prison extension school at the Medium Security Compound of Camp Sampaguita is one of the university’s corporate social responsibility programs, together with the Mangyan Mission School in Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro. Dennis Abrina