Video #4: Ihawig Prison and Penal Farm
Challenge: Political Prisoners in the American Hegemony
In 1898, the Philippines got its independence from the Spanish hegemony. After 6 months of being a free country, the Philippines was once again ruled by the Americans. During the American occupation, some Filipinos were captured and held as prisoners. Some prisoners couldn’t be accommodated at the Bilibid Prison in Manila so they were thrown in a specific area of Puerto Princesa an island called Palawan. Col. John White, who supervises, thought of making the latter place to be an open jail since the island of twenty thousand hectares was mostly covered of rain forest.
Later on, the open jail was authorized to become a penal colony. It was called the Ihawig Prison and Penal Farm. There were no fences and no gurads in their dormitory. Attempted escape in every year is in a maximum of 5 prisoners. John White became the superintendent of Ihawig in 1902 and so the colony became a flourishing settlement. Prisoners were free to choose an activity which includes farming, fishing, forestry, carpentry and other works in the farm.
A merit system was developed in the penal colony. The prisoners were granted with the permission of the authority to build their own home; Barrio Belerita, was built. Having fun was not prohibited in the penal, but is just limited. They can do chess, billiards, cards, etc,. Some also raised their own family in the barrio. These grants are just given to them after working on the farm and as long as they do their obligations and following the rules and regulations.
Ihawig Prison and Penal Farm was later recognized, and became one of the world’s biggest open prison.
What kind of prisoners wouldn’t want this? Long-term prisoners would mostly prefer this system than being locked up in a four cornered room and do nothing. I recommend that the government should allow more prisoners being...
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