SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur–Exactly after four years and 343 days of serving his six-year jail sentence at the Agusan del Sur Provincial Jail, Tatay Bals,68, was set free as a beneficiary of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
The same fate was also shared by Pareng Ben, 42, whose four-year jail term was cut short by four months and 28 days.
On that fateful day of July 21, Tatay Bals and Pareng Ben walked their way to freedom and went home to reunite with their respective families.
Republic Act No. 10592 which created the GCTA law shortened jail time sentences of inmates or Persons Deprived of Liberty(PDL) after a thorough assessment of the conduct of their behavior inside the detention centers.
The Management, Screening, and Evaluation Committee (MSEC) of the Provincial Correctional and Security Management Office (PCSMO) evaluates the excellent conduct of PDLs and recommends the grant of GCTAs.
Tatay Bals was a jail trustee who regularly cleaned the jail premises, guitarist at religious masses at the chapel jail and at times delivered sermons during mass worships.
“He was also active in almost all activities of the jail, including the rice production at the ricefields at the provincial capitol,” said Mary Ann Gresola, information officer of PCSMO, assigned as jail nurse.
Gresola said a trustee is a PDL trusted by the jail management to initiate any activity that will help the development of the jail as part of the PDLs reformation program.
For his part, Pareng Ben was a dressmaker who made scrub suits and facemasks for the health frontliners at the height of the Covid pandemic. He was also responsible for attending to sick PDLs’ needs and led in maintaining peace and order in their cells.
Tatay Bals and Pareng Ben were among the seven PDLs granted with GCTA.
MSEC deliberated 24 PDLs, one had fully served his sentence, nine were transferred to Davao Penal Colony, and seven were still awaiting assessment results.
The PCSMO is still reviewing the records of potential PDLs for possible granting of GCTA.
The GCTA initiative will continue as it is one of the successful strategies to decongest our detention facilities and an opportunity for PDLs to once again re-entry a free life outside jail premises.