The Peer Group help of former Persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

Written by Melvin Nuñez

One’s life must continue to bloom and stretch his stems even carrying big challenges.


Family, friends, peer groups, local government units, non-government organizations, and the community plays a vital and huge role in ensuring the welfare and well-being of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) during the current health crisis. Sometimes, it takes a broader perspective to people with big hearts to conquer realities, and this contributes a lot to the goals of a developing humane society.


Looking not only at the impact of reintegration on the former persons deprived of liberty but also the impact on their community and on wider society change perspectives and narratives on humanity and lessen stigma even if people do not know them.


HLAF’s special story from its beneficiaries from the Focused Reintegration of Ex-Detainees (FRED) program summarizes this humane empowerment all up.


Ate Susan, a former beneficiary of the program, who is currently a business manager of a cosmetics, dietary supplements, and personal care brand based in the United States has been lending her hand to create job opportunities to her fellow FRED groups. When I asked her why, she told me that although she and her family was stressed-out and still coping due to the challenges brought by the health crisis on financial, emotional, and even physical aspect, she new that there were more people suffering than them, and the first few people she thought of was her FRED peer groups. “Alam kong hirap na hirap tayong mga tao na mabuhay ngayong panahon na ito, lalo’t lumalaban tayo para lang may makain kahit ngayon araw. Ako at ang aking pamilya ay nawalan rin ng pag-asa nung una at nastress. Ang mister ko po ay hindi makasampa ng barko, tapos ‘yung mga apo ko nandito pa, nagtiwala lang kami sa Panginoon na hindi tayo pinapabayaan. Isa pa, ‘nung nalaman po ni Sir Wendell ang aming kondisyon, ay nagpaabot rin po sila ng tulong tapos po dun kami nabuhayan.


When her company regained full operations again last month, she then tried to offer reselling jobs to her FRED group. “Dahil dito, narealize ko na kaya ko naman tumulong dito sa trabaho ko, bakit hindi ko dalhin sa kanila, para kahit paano kung may mabenta sila ay may kita rin sila”. It is not only the profit that they earn but the learning process of how online businesses work as well.


She has been able to sell more than of her regular day operations because people nowadays are more concerned of their health and immunity, which they had products of. The expense of transportation and effort of going to the locations we had have been lessened. She said that it is important to see light in these most challenging times, “if we can help, help out”.


Although many of us may not know the situations of former Persons deprived of liberty and how they bounce back, it is not mysterious to us that being a flower to a gloomy garden brings color to it.