By Lorela Sandoval
The Philippines’ Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) hopes to see detainees as financial educators in the future by rolling out a national literacy program about financial management.
BJMP director Serafin P. Barretto, Jr., said to be a Certified Stock Specialist himself, envisions for all prisoners to achieve financial freedom, not merely freedom from incarceration.
“The BJMP provides livelihood programs among inmates but on top of that, we see the importance of educating them also on how to manage their income. We know that this is one of the skills they will be needing upon their release from our jails,” Barretto said in a statement released on May 17.
“If they will become literate on financial management, it will help them realize the importance of saving for their future and how to properly spend their income,” he further said.
A team of trained BJMP officers will teach the financial concepts, terms, and strategies in financial management to all inmates.
The bureau believes that teaching inmates in effectively managing their resources could bring about better perspectives in life.
“Kesa po magisip sila na gumawa na naman ng kasalanan, we want to empower them with these set of knowledge na kung saan, meron silang option na ayusin na lang nila yung kanilang pamumuhay at mabuhay ng marangal base sa kanilang kinikita (Instead of them thinking on committing an offense again, we want to empower them with these sets of knowledge that will give them options on how to fix their way of living and have a decent life based on what they earn),” Barretto stressed.
Besides livelihood programs, the bureau also created a partnership initiative with the Social Security System (SSS) called “SSS Alkansiya Program,” which will teach inmates on saving a percentage of their earnings in jail.
After creating a pool of financial literacy trainers at BJMP’s rank and file, Barretto said they will likewise have counterparts among inmates who will perform the same training activity with fellow prisoners.
The training can even be extended to the inmates’ visitors.
“It is not impossible that we will be meeting soon former inmates who become fund managers and financial analyst because of this project. We just need to train them and believe on the good side of these people” Barretto said.