While over 75% of Filipino prisoners are detainees awaiting trial, and not convicted prisoners; jails are largely overpopulated. There is a great scarcity of food and inadequate access to hygiene. There is prevalent sickness and death is common. The Wild Orchid Foundation Team is committed to embracing this marginalized and under represented members of community, to show them global care and support throughout their suffering.
Our kitchen provided meals and thanks to our benefactors, we brought sanitary napkins, underwear, new designer vintage T-Shirts donated by The Rossetto Family; soap, shampoo and toothpaste, chessboards and books. Toothbrushes are not allowed in prison. We visited both the men and women’s dorms and conducted educational activities with youth detainees.
During our visitations, prisoners repeatedly tell us that for them, “the little things are big.” We visit each dorm which holds 80-100 people seated, where they sleep crowded, (often piled on top of eachother). One dorm presented us with a festive Impromptu dance performance. Wild Orchid founder, Coco Barán was previously invited to be a judge their annual talent show.
There is so much sadness and longing to be reunited with family. Many detainees wait up to 5 plus years to have a trial. Tragically, they may waste years of their lives only to be found innocent. Detainees and inmates are kept in jail because they cannot afford to pay bail, which can start at 5,028 Philippine pesos equaling 100 USD.
We are convicted to alleviate this societal malaise and work to assist to our fullest capacity to preserve dignity for inmates and detainees. It is a complicated and dangerous social issue in a web of corruption. In June of 2019, the death toll reported for extrajudicial vigilante killings was at 5,526 under the current regime.
In the words of Fr. Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries: “we have stood in the right place, with the poor, the powerless, and the voiceless. We have stood with those whose dignity has been denied. We have stood with the easily despised and readily left out. We continue to stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. And we stand with the disposable, so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. We will continue to stand at the margins as we always have – this is and will continue to be our daily work.”