Still a modelCebu Daily News
The news story last week about a musical to be held at the New York Music Festival that’s inspired by the dancing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) is a source of good news and pride to Cebuanos and the country in general.
“The Prison Dancer” scheduled to be performed at the St. Clemens Theater on July 21 to July 28 is a feather in the cap for the Capitol which earned plaudits years after a video of its unique rehabilitation program was uploaded on YouTube, garnering millions of views from around the world.
Time will tell whether the musical would earn the acclaim of a “Shawshank Redemption” or the mainstream appeal of “Prison Break.” One thing is for sure, the source of the inspiration for the play would be credited to Cebu’s dancing inmates, from which similar gimmicks like Cebu City Hall’s dancing tax collectors have been copied.
Alas, things aren’t so dandy for the inmates as of late based on a report that assorted weapons and cell phones were confiscated in a raid at the cells of the CPDRC.
It wasn’t too long ago when privileges were suspended by the Capitol following infighting among the inmates. Only when things died down did Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, the chief jailer, ease back and restore visitor privileges.
Last February, one inmate showed he had special privileges going his way when an ex-mayor of Aklan took his jail escort on a detour to have a hearty lunch of bulalo in a restaurant, sans handcufss, after a trial hearing in the Capitol.
One can’t expect rosy days in the CPDRC given that it’s a jail filled to capacity with detention prisoners.
The musical was supposed to portray inmates as human beings, who have either intentionally or unintentionally committed crimes but are given a chance at rehabilitation and eventual redemption.
Though reality is a far more cruel place, the Capitol was on the right track to use dance drills and the psychic reward of performing in public to the applause of an amazed audience as a mode of transformation.
Even without the presence of Capitol consultant Byron Garcia, who receives much credit for pioneering the dance program, the Capitol’s present caretakers are supposed to continue it and even make improvements.
Measures can still be instituted to instill discipline and improve the welfare of the inmates.
Inmates cooperated with the program before.
The slack in management after the 2010 departure of Byron Garcia is something that can still be addressed.
The CPDRC is a worthy showcase for Cebu and can still be a model institution for other jails in the country to follow.
More from this Column:
- To concede is an act of grace
- Cleaning up
- For Cebu City in three years
- Plugging the holes
- Fall of (some of ) Cebu’s old guard