With the community quarantine and social distancing in effect, many families are unable to get together and keep one another company. This is particularly disheartening for those to whom a visit from loved ones is one of the few things to look forward to: people in prison. Jail visits are covered by the COVID-19 restrictions.
The local government of Misamis Oriental has come up with a novel idea and a compassionate act: virtual visits. It developed e-dalaw, which enables inmates of Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail to see and talk to their families via video conference.
The project was developed in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart). The telco and its regional distributor Airtalk provided wifi devices to the provincial jail.
“The e-dalaw is the first of its kind in Region 10,” Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vicente Emano says with pride. “Other LGUs can pick up the idea.” He thanked PLDT-Smart for supporting the project, along with the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
More than 30 inmates have had virtual visits, according to Dominador Tagarda, the provincial jail warden.
“We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from the inmates and their families…It is really important for them to continue communicating with their loved ones, especially now that we are facing a pandemic.”
Richel Pajara, a provincial government official, says that “e-dalaw helps boost the morale of our inmates and lessen their loneliness.” She is thankful to PLDT-Smart for the high-speed internet connection and excellent, reliable signal, which ensure that inmates get maximum enjoyment of their virtual visits.
“We are glad to have partnered with the LGU for this very timely project that enables those in jail to connect with their families despite the pandemic,” says Bernardo Deatras, Smart’s Regional Customer Development Senior Manager.
With connectivity deemed even more vital in these difficult times, PLDT and Smart continue to provide communication and data services to the public, especially government agencies at the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. In Cagayan de Oro, PLDT-SMART has extended communications support to the City Information Office, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, CDO Mobile Force Command, and the Inter-Agency Task Force, among others.