(Updated September 26, 2018 -- included video and photo gallery)
We are so happy to receive this encouraging report about the completion of a LifeNets project and its dedication that took place September 17, 2018. The project provided a borehole, water tank and visitor kiosks. It will change the quality of life for incarcerated ladies in a women's prison on the island of Davao in the Philippines. One of the principals in this project is Jed Sy, member of the United Church of God, who is incarcerated there. I visited her and her brother in separate prisons in 2013 and wrote about it at:
and posted this earlier on this site at:
Here is the report sent to us by David Dobson, Senior Pastor for the Philippines:
Denise and I had a wonderful day at the Correctional Institute for Women Mindanao (CIWM) where Jed Sy is incarcerated. This day was a celebration of the 11th anniversary of the women’s prison and also the completion of the LifeNets projects. The water well was drilled to a depth of 70 feet. The water is clear and pure enough to pass the water quality tests. The existing old prison well has a number of problems so they already rely heavily on this new well. The 1000 liter tank holds enough to be of great help throughout the prison.
CIWM has a new prison superintendent, Daisy Castillote. She is a relatively young woman who is also a lawyer. The administration are delighted with the well, water tank and new visitor’s kiosks. A ribbon-cutting was held at each aspect of the LifeNets projects. We were given unusual freedom in taking photos and videos of the projects. Daisy then asked me to lead in a prayer to “bless” the water well and visitor’s kiosks and I was honored to do so.
Daisy took time away from her office to spend an hour with our group. She mentioned to us a difficult situation that had arisen the day before with an angry visitor. Jed shared with her something from the Maxwell Leadership Bible that was pertinent and helped to calm the situation. Daisy asked us about the Maxwell Bible and we assured her that we would bring her a copy next January. Before she went back to the office I reminded her of the proverb saying that “when the righteous reigns the people rejoice.” We believe that God will bless her efforts to guide the prison in a way that pleases Him and everyone will benefit.
On Thursday we will go back out to the prisons to visit Jong Pilapil. We were unable to see him today due to a prison lock-down.
David & Denise Dobson
Earl Roemer, previous Senior Pastor of the Philippines wrote this to me earlier this year on February 12, 2018. It provides an interesting background to this project that is already completed!
From Earl Roemer
It was great to be able to present the idea of the "Women's Prison Project On Mindanao" to you. Jed Sy has been incarcerated unjustly for 14 years (Vic, you met her in 2013 at the prison)....but maintains the most incredible strength and positive focus and captivating approach to life I have ever witnessed!
I learned last month that there are some incredible hardships that are placed on the ladies in the prison on Mindanao. I will briefly present the difficulties to you for consideration asking LifeNets to become involved to assist in some humanitarian relief for the 360 ladies there currently (soon to have an additional 180 ladies transferred to the facility on Mindanao)...
I have known for many years (and have assisted in easing the burden) that the ladies must provide their own food on a daily basis/provide their own hygiene supplies/needs....etc. We have given monetary assistance to them. We have provided them assistance for their "cottage industries" that provide them with Pesos to pay for daily upkeep and "survival".
What I learned last month in a second "interview" with the prison warden that the Department of Justice (hereafter referred to as the "DOJ") and the Department of Corrections (hereafter referred to as the DOC) ONLY pay for the salaries of federal employees and construction of "new" infrastructure--and that's it!
Picture--a compound and dormitory housing 360 women inmates (soon to be an additional 180 inmates transferred from Luzon prisons to a newly constructed dormitory). NO WATER. They carry their own water DAILY from a well 200 meters away (and the new inmates of the new dormitory will be expected to do the same). In 5 gallon buckets! Because DOJ and DOC will not provide funding for inmates.
I am proposing a joint project (in the name of LifeNets and UCG) to provide a 500 gallon water tank on each Dorm (2) with appropriate pumps and plumbing. (There is a good well in place.)
The prison allows children and female relative visitation with 2 night "sleepover" privileges for children and female siblings--mothers--aunts--daughters--grandmothers.
Current situation: visitors "camp" under a metal canopy on a concrete pad. They are old and leaky when it rains--the tropics--a majority of the time. Snakes a major problem!
4 NIPA HUTS (English) KAMALIG or BAHAY KUBO HUTS
Off the ground/"snake proof" dry
(example pictures attached--NOT ACTUAL END PRODUCT)
EXERCISE EQUIPMENT (which I will provide)