Reaching the Remote Place

“I’m a prisoner and I listen to Absolutely 24/7″.

iwahigRomeo, a prisoner of the Iwahig Penal Colony, is one of the listeners of Absolutely 24/7. He is a native of Tagbilaran, Bohol. His whole family was massacred. He was put in jail at the age of sixteen (16) for killing the people who killed his family. Just like any other prisoner, Romeo is also longing to have a friend, a family. After listening to our program, Romeo shared in his SMS message to us: “Please help me find a pen-pal or a text mate.” Then our counselor converse with him and entertained his request. After a short conversation through SMS exchange, Romeo opened up saying he was a prisoner at Iwahig in Palawan. He added: “I’ve been here for a long time already. I even came from Muntinlupa and now I was sent to Iwahig, Palawan. I was put in jail when I was just 16 years old. Life here in prison is hard and sad especially in my situation now as a prisoner but even though it is like this, I made a way to buy cell-phone because I feel so lonely here.” God had used our youth program to reach a man who has a lonely heart in order to give comfort and inspiration.

Please pray that there are many more people like him who would be touched by our youth program.

The Iwahig penal colony is considered to be a low security work farm where over a thousand prisoners live and work around a central village square. This penal colony is very unique. This colony has no major walls or barriers to keep prisoners in. Prisoners are being gathered three times a day for a head counts. The small size and remoteness of the island of Palawan is the primary factor which discourages escape. Transportation off the island is almost impossible for a prisoner to arrange on his own and fleeing to the remote mountains of Palawan would mean almost certain death from malaria. For these reasons, escape attempts were rare at Iwahig. One would ask why is then, that prisoners are encouraged to stay? What makes them stay in the small island is the living condition. Unlike any other traditional penal colony, prisoners at Iwahig are even welcome to bring their wives and children to share their incarceration. If it weren’t for the guards with shotguns walking around, one would not think this was a prison. The functionality of Iwahig seemed communistic in design. All the labors of the prisoners went to support the institution. Through farming and export of handmade crafts, the colony is financially self-supporting. Prisoners also make craft items on their own time and sell them to purchase items from the colony store. (info from this website)

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Source: TWR Philippines

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