While coronavirus is affecting everyone’s lives and norms, a “Jail Lockdown” on all jail units was implemented as a precautionary measure, including the Dipolog City Jail Male Dormitory. Sudden modifications on jail operations drastically change the normal activities of human resource and PDL alike.  The visitation privilege suspended, service providers are prohibited, trainings and educational programs are limited for the purpose of intensive prevention of the virus to spread inside facility. Surely, they terrible from the boredom due to the more limited social interaction, right? And maybe, more than the way we felt tired and homesick during the lockdown. As they are also human, negative thinking will possibly strike them, which may threaten our security and preventive measures. But we, the BJMP human resource, are trained to deal and care for them.

In order to effectively maximize the time of PDL and gave them opportunity to breath fresh air outside the four walls of their rooms, Dipolog City Jail-Male Dormitory, with its limited land, introduces urban gardening to PDL. WE believe that this is the best time to introduce gardening as a tool for improving the disposition of PDL through soil cultivation and plant propagation which ultimately create a scenic environment. Also, science has proven that gardening is good for the health. Gardening reduces depression, anxiety and heart disease as well as increasing satisfaction with the quality of life and improve our sense of community. Merely looking at the plants in a garden can reduce stress, blood pressure and muscle tension. Above all, gardening provides not only the sense of pleasure to the farmer but also the sense of self sustainability- being able to reap the fruits of their labor.

Tatay Larry, 47 years old, has been in the facility for more than six years. His family didn’t visit him even before the lockdown. He has been doing menial work every day, especially in maintaining the cleanliness in the entire facility. And has been a recipient of the different trainings of the Department of Agriculture given in this facility last year. Since then, he has been the major forerunner of gardening activities together with some PDL. Despite the limited area, he grows his garden at the rooftop of Building 2 of Dipolog City Jail Male Dormitory. Green thumbed, Tatay Larry once said “Parang nawawala ang mga alalahanin ko sa buhay kapag nag gagarden ako. Kapag naka harvest na ako sa pinaghirapan ko parang ang gaan sa loob”. Malaki nga ang pasasalamat ko sa BJMP dahil nadagdagan ang kaalaman ko sa pagtatanim dahil sa mga trainings na isinasagawa dito tapos binibigyan pa nila ako ng mga buto ng gulay na itatanim galing sa Department of Agriculture”.  Tatay Larry shares his harvest to other PDL and the excess were sold in a low price. During this lockdown, he planted pechay, ampalaya, eggplants, upo, alugbati, and okra and was harvesting abundantly for the last two harvesting seasons already. Truly, gardening teaches him to be patient and hopeful as he continues life with full of trust to the Almighty. That one day, he will sow an abundant harvest at the right time.

JO1 Kimberly S Batac
Dipolog City Jail – Female Dormitory