Baker behind bars

By: Doris C. Bongcac February 01,2015 - 10:07 AM
Inmate Lito Granada shows freshly baked  bread from the jail’s oven for sale later in a self-service cafe run by inmates. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Inmate Lito Granada shows freshly baked bread from the jail’s oven for sale later in a self-service cafe run by inmates. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

While others mark time as they serve their sentence in jail, one inmate has found a way to use his time wisely and earn.

Lito Granada, 41, used his baking skills to make bread and eventually set up a bakery inside the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC).

Granada started by preparing “shakoy” and “binangkal” for snacks three years back.

The jail’s bakery now produces 8 to 10 varieties of bread including hopia, pan de sal, jelly roll and cheese bread, which he and some inmates sell at the jail’s canteen and  two Noy Honesto Coffee Shops in the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) and the jail’s main lobby.

“I am grateful that my skills as a baker were put to good use despite my being in jail,” said Granada in Cebuano.

He used to work as master baker of a prominent bakeshop chain in Cebu

The CPDRC bakery is a source of  income for inmates and goes a long way in helping support their families outside the jail as well as purchasing  day-to-day needs of inmates like shampoo and laundry soap.

An employees canteen  run by a cooperative of the inmates is another source of income.

Granada said he thought of a livelihood program when he was named the jail’s mayor de mayores and cooperative head in 2011.

He is serving his 13th year of a 20-year sentence for rape, a crime Granada insists was a false charge.

A native of Tudela town in Camotes Island, Granada said he taught fellow inmates how to bake so they could have  money to spend for their needs and prepare them to find jobs when they are released from prison.

Lito Granada

Lito Granada

Jail’s Bakery
With P2,000 as initial capital from the cooperative’s funds, he started by making “shakoy” and “binangkal” using a stove and a few kilos of flour.

When the operation expanded, he sought permission from jail officials to use an old oven that was lying idle in the jail’s storage area.

The inmates’ cooperative also bought a roller which they still use today.
They converted the old pantry into a bakery.

“I believe that having a supply of hot bread in prison helps,” Granada said  in Cebuano.

He picked eight other inmates who either had experience as bakers or bakeshop trainees to help in the operation, working in two shifts daily.

 

Co-op Money

The bakery earns about P30,000 a month while the jail’s canteen earns another P40,000, he said.

The earnings are shared as allowances among the bakers and about 100 other  inmates who do assigned chores as cleaners, kitchen assistants and errand boys.

“I give them an allowance so  they can buy soap and shampoo,  especially those inmates who don’t have visitors. At least, they can have something to use,” he said in Cebuano.

Part of the revenue is  kept by the cooperative as a welfare fund for  cash assistance  of P500 to P2,000.

This goes to inmates who are hospitalized and need to buy medicine.  The aid extends to immediate family members  who get hospitalized.

Cash assistance is also given to inmates who enjoy home-visiting privileges for occasions like attending a relative’s vigil wake or those who are to be released so they have take-home cash.

While Granada still oversees the  bakery, canteen and Noy Honesto Coffee Shop, he continues to look for  ways to  increase the cooperative’s revenues.

He said the bakery needs an additional oven, a mixer and slicer so they could increase daily production.

They also have  to apply for a permit to operate a bakeshop in order to sell their products to stores outside of CPDRC.

Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz, president of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, visited the jail last month. He  promised to help the inmate’s co-op acquire  additional equipment and process their permit.

 

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TAGS: bakeshop, baking, CPDRC, Noy Honesto

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