A call center in prison?Taguig inmates train as agents

By Alexander Villafania

TAGUIG CITY, METRO MANILA – An information and communications technology (ICT)-based training program has been initiated for detainees in an effort to provide them with the necessary skills that would make them viable workforce upon their release from prison.

Incidentally, the IT course being offered is on call center training.

The program, ostensibly called BILIB I.T. (a wordplay of “bilibid” that describes a prison), was started by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority(TESDA) and technology training school Informatics.

The training is being pilot tested at Camp BagongDiwa in Taguig City, with the idea to have it emulated in other municipalities with detention centers.

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Cayetano explained that the concept is based on the US practice of allowing inmates to work as contact center workers for non-sensitive matters.

The senator said he would be working with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for guidelines that would allow inmates to work in the same industry when they are released.

Would-be trainees do have to qualify for certain requirements prior to getting a scholarship to be trained under the BILIB I.T. program. For instance, those who have already served their sentence but are still living within the prison compounds are qualified, as well as those whose sentences are not longer than six years.

Currently, there are only six scholars though the scholarship itself is targeted for 200.

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“Step one is the training. But we’ll see if we can try building call centers inside jail facilities to help these detainees utilize their training and gain employment. I eventually want to get there because it’s a step further towards better rehabilitation,” Cayetano explained.

Cayetano added that to ensure full security during the training, especially against potential cybercrime perpetrated within the training facility, Informatics, TESDA, and BJMP have put major precautions to ensure that the program will not be used for anything other than to learn.

There will also be closed circuit TVs in the classrooms and will not be provided with Internet connection.

“If the time comes that a call center is put up in the prison compound, we could have some of the technology that Western countries are using to watch for prisoners working in call centers and to prevent any cybercrime,” he added.

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