Like most of my blog entries, this should have been posted earlier—much, much earlier—a month ago, to be exact.
Rather than taking summer classes, I opted to volunteer for the Innocence Project Philippines Network. It can be said that it is a counterpart of the Innocence Project in the United States. I knew of the organization and the work they have done to help exonerate wrongfully convicted persons. It is something I have always wanted to do. Help free the innocent and punish the guilty. In fact, I have written and presented an argumentative paper based on it when I was in college. Ha! Let’s just say this has been my advocacy since high school, i.e. the Hubert Webb case. (I have always believed in his innocence. Thus, the acquittal was huge and inspiring to me—to be discussed in a future entry, hopefully.) Hence, the decision to volunteer. Actually, you need to apply for it. Haha. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to do this and eventually gain some experience in the field of law. Yes, in a way you get to apply what you have learned in law school. Definitely a plus!
I will not get into the details, just a highlight. Or, as they call it, THE most memorable experience. Other than meeting new people and gain new friends, one of the highlights of my volunteer ‘work’ is the New Bilibid Prison visit. Believe me, the AdDU team worked really hard to make this happen. We might not have been able to enter the maximum security, at least we were able to get inside the minimum security. Yes, we did. We were in Bilibid! How cool is that?! :)
The minimum security was something I expected to be—the look, the feel, the people. It was like your everyday community only with dorms, gates and some military-looking people for security. The security seemed more relaxed though. Heh. It was like a rehab facility. The situation, however, is not something we should settle with. When I say ‘we’, I’m talking about the administration, the government, you, me and everyone else; and when I say ‘settle’, what I mean is ‘not do anything about it even if we should’ or ‘just used to being the way it is’.
We could have done better. We can do better. Well yes, they are prisoners but they have rights to—basic needs like food and shelter, basic services from the government etc. This also goes to show how bad the situation is in the free world. Since the community inside is similar to our own free world (except the fact that they are actually in prison)—the slum areas, in particular—then, there is no difference at all. It feels like we are actually imprisoned in our own prison. Why settle with ‘reality’ when we can actually change our own ‘reality’?
Strive for a better society.
Make a change.
Be the change.