Iwahig Penal Colony
The largest open air, penal rehabilitation facility of it's kind in the world.
Hello all, Yesterday, we wanted to make a very special trip to the Iwahig Penal Colony on the Palawan Island. It is 30 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa. When I read about this place, I had to check it out. Iwahig was built by the Americans in 1902 for the Philippine prisoners who fought against American colonization. The reason this is such a unique place is because of the 2300 prisoners, the majaority are convicted of homicide and yet are not locked up within the colony.
What is unique about this rehabilitation prison is that once the inmates have served a minimum of 1/3 of their sentence and have proven they will not escape based on their behavior, they are allowed to farm, have their families live with them if they so choose, or sell their crafts in and around the souvenir shop. They are only allowed to leave outside the premises of the penal colony but the land is huge! The penal farm is composed of 6000 hectars of land.
|One of the rice fields that are farmed by the prisoners|
|Some of the medium security inmates are making a pond.|
|He is charged for accessory to rape. He was selling wooden crafts to us.|
|My cousin is making friends with the prisoners. They were so excited to take a picture with her until one them put his arm on her. She nervously laughed and told them is not allowed to touch her.|
|They were taking a little break and very excited to have a visitor.|
|souvenir shop where the prisoners consign their crafts to sell|
|He is an extremely jealous man. He is in prison for killing a man who was having an affair with his girlfriend. He is 36 years old and has been in here since he was 17.|
|This is his craft that he sells. He makes boats inside of bottles piece by piece.|
|Kuya Jun has been a prisoner for over 18 years. He also murdered someone who was a long time enemy and is selling his crafts here. They get 10% of the sale of their crafts.|
|This inmate is not trusted enough yet to leave the prison.|
|Road to the Iwahig Penal Farm|
The prisoners are classified by minimum, medium and maximum security and are distinguished by the color of their t-shirts. They also specify the type of security that they are on their t-shirts. When I think minimum security inmates, I am thinking maybe they did petty theft or white collared crimes. As I got to know many of them, they were mostly convicted of murder! Don't be fooled that minimum security means a minimal crime. Most of the medium and maximum security prisoners are classified as such because they had tried to escape.
Many of the minimum security prisoners live in dormitories and are allowed to work on one of the agricultural projects on the penal farm rather than being confined in the prison. Their families are even allowed to live with them. The prisoners get a small percentage from the crops or from the crafts that they create.
|Meet Kuya Reynaldo and his artisan crafts that he made.|
|He is 65 years old and is a mimum security inmate.|
|Minimum Security Compound|