How the parol can light up lives of Cebu City Jail inmates
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Freedom is their topmost wish this Christmas season. But since they are still waiting for it, some Cebu City Jail inmates are knocking on the public’s hearts to share their blessings by buying their traditional Christmas lanterns or parol.
Learning to make traditional lanterns or parol, which are made of bamboo sticks, pasted with cutout foils, Japanese paper or papel de hapon, among others, is one of the yearly programs for inmates at the Cebu City Jail.
Victor Iriarte, livelihood officer of the Cebu City Jail, said that this yearly activity of making traditional lanterns started with two to three inmates learning and sharing their skills in lantern making.
The finished products are sold to the public.
After a few years, the program has now 10 inmates, who make parol or lanterns for the Christmas season.
For the past years, Iriarte said that the response of the public in this program had been good and that a lot of people had patronized these traditional lanterns made by the inmates.
He also said that they would collaborate with these inmates with regard to the new designs that they would be making.
Materials for the Christmas lanterns will be provided to the inmates with the fund to purchase these materials will be taken from the fund that they accumulated from their previous sales of their Christmas lanterns.
The finished Christmas lanterns or parol are sold from P350 to P800 a lantern, depending on its size.
Iriarte said that 30 percent of the sale of the Christmas lanterns would go to the inmate, who made it.
He said that this would be a big help to these inmates since they could use their share of the sales of their lanterns for their personal needs inside the jail or they could send it to their families, whom they had not seen for a while due to the restrictions of the pandemic.
Two inmates, who have been in jail for at least two to four years, have shared their skills in making Christmas lanterns to other inmates so that they can earn and learn new skills as well while they are inside the city jail.
One inmate, who has been in jail for five years for illegal drugs, said that he had been making traditional Christmas lanterns since four years ago.
This inmate before he ended in jail has knowledge on how to make traditional Christmas lanterns because this was what his cousin outside the jail had been doing to earn money during the Christmas season.
Another inmate, who used to make lanterns during the Christmas season for 15 years, also shared his knowledge on how to make these lanterns.
He said that he had been inside the jail for two years now for illegal drugs.
Another inmate, who is inside the jail for illegal possession of firearms, said that he was grateful for learning to make traditional lanterns because this was a new step for him to learn new skills that he could use when he would be freed someday from jail.
As they put light and colors to houses in this coming Christmas with the parol or traditional lanterns they made, these inmates still hope and pray that like lanterns, they will also have that day that they can go home and be acknowledged in their respective homes as transformed and better persons.
That despite their darkness, these lanterns can be them, as they achieve the victory of light through genuine self-transformation.
And how can one purchase these parol or Christmas lanterns of the inmates, you may reach them through these mobile numbers — 09287695437 or 09094785808. For online inquiries, you may also reach them via CCJMD WD Livelihood FB page.
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