CPDRC’s Dancing Inmates

CPDRC Inmates' Algorithm March

Their video posted on Youtube may soon breach 5 million hits, making it among the most watched worldwide. That is no mean feat for the inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), whose Algorithm March caught international attention because it is unique for a detention facility.

Algorithm March is a kind of dance from Pythagoras Switch, a television series shown in Japan. Performers do it in line formation. In CPDRC, it is performed by almost a thousand inmates—the number itself and the temperament of the participants being prisoners is obviously what impressed Youtube visitors.

The Algorithm March is the brainchild of Capitol consultant Byron Garcia (CPDRC is being run by the Provincial Government) to instill discipline among the inmates. Instead of the usual exercises, the Algorithm March was hatched. Credit must also be given to the choreographer who endured initial fears about dealing with people charged with crimes.

It would be wrong, however, to immediately conclude that because of the success of the Algorithm March everything is well inside the facility. That should be subject of a study although so far I still have to hear complaints coming out from the jail, even from the political detainees who have been critical of the administration of Gov. Gwen Garcia.

I know what it is like to be in a jail facility because I stayed in the Cebu City jail, the old Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) for around two months in 1987 for rebellion charges (I was the first person charged with such a crime in Cebu under the administration of then president Corazon Aquino).

BBRC was not that crowded at that time but there was not much of a semblance of an organization in its activities. There was gambling inside and marijuana (shabu was still not popular then) was sold openly. Majority of the inmates were members of the Batang Cebu 45 or BC 45 gang, and gang officials ensured the keeping of order inside.

We did not do an Algorithm March during the exercise period. Some played basketball but the rest spent their time talking in clusters. But even if the warden had known about the Algorithm March (it was not invented then), I doubt if he could have implemented it for lack of a space inside. By the way, the old BBRC will soon be abandoned fully as the remaining inmates there will be transferred to the new city jail in Barangay Kalunasan.

CPDRC inmates are luckier then because they are in a better facility, unlike the other jails throughout the country. That is the reason why only they could have done the Algorithm March in the Philippines.

P.S. What is shown in that AP photo on the CPDRC inmates above is not the actual dance. They are merely practicing new moves to the tune of the song, “Together in Electric Dreams.”

-Candido O. Wenceslao, Aug. 16, 2007


6 Responses to CPDRC’s Dancing Inmates

  1. fabiano says:

    i was impressioned about this men
    i watched some videos about them
    they are so great
    but i read something a little strange

    is it true that they are fored to do that?
    they have to dance for 16hours a day?

    my English is not good, but i hope you can answer me about it!!

    this CPDRC makes a good job whit those inmates and each onf them deserves our congratulation, cause we all know that they made some wrong in the past, but now they have a chance to change their lives and they are using it!!

    see you!!

  2. Renato Pacifico says:

    Great dancing from society’s neglected victims!

  3. marie ocampo says:

    i was touched nung napanood ko over the news coverage na nag donate sila on their own para maitulong sa typhoon ondoy victims. nakakabilib na silang mga nasa loob at walang laya sa labas at hindi ganun kalaki ang kapasidad maghanapbuhay para sa kanilang pamilya went out on ntheir way para makatulong. Naalala nila ang mga biktima na nasa labas,pero silang mga nangangailangan din ng tulong kahit hindi nila hingin hindi matulungan at masuportahan man lang ng mga nasa labas. Nung wala pa ang typhoon ondoy, ilang libo ba sa milyong tao sa pilipinas ag nakaalala na magbigay din ng libre sa mga pangangailanagn ng kanilang pamilya, suporta man lang dahil pare pareho naman nating alam na sila rin lang ang inaasahan ng kani kanilang pamilya, na ngayon ay nasa loob, nawalan ng padre de pamilya o kayay katuwang man lang na kapamilya ang kanilang mga asawa, ina, anak at mga kapatid. kung tutuusin, nangangailanagan din sila, pero dinaig pa nila ang ibang tao na mas may kapasidad tumulong pero tumutulong nga, nakaharap naman sa camera, politically motivated, ikumpara nalangn noon na mas may malalang bagyo ang nangyari, mas malaking trahedya, o sbihin ng kasing disastrous ng bagyong ondoy, ito bang mga lumabas ng lungga nila na tumutulong ngayon na nakikita a camera ay lumaba din noon para magpakita ng simpatya. Itong ating mga kababayan sa cebu provincial jail, pinakikita nila ang kakayahan nila para lumaban sa buhay at matustusan ang pamilya nil a paraang ipakita at paghusayan ang kanilang talento at ipakita sa youtube. pero aminin man natin sa hindi, lahat ng kinita nila sa palabas nilang itong sa youtube ay mga suporta at donasyon o tulong na galing sa mga taga ibang bansa, mostly hindi natin kababyan. kahit minsan, wala akong narinig na isang kilalang tao, pulitiko man o artista ang nagpalabas ng isang telethon o fund campaign para maipang suporta sa pamilya ng mga kapatid nating ito na nasa loob. kung hihintayin nila ng hustisya o amnestiya para sa kanila, palagay ko, nirarayuma na sila sa kasasayaw , hindi pa nila ito makakamit. Siguro naman may mga anak sila na nangangarap magkaron ng magandang kinabukasan at buhay balang araw, makatapos ng pag-aaral. hindi naman siguro nila deserve na maparusahan din at magdusa katulad ng kanilang mga kaanak o magulang na nasa loob na question mark pa na lahat ba ng mga kapatid nating ito na nasa loob talaga bang mga dapat makulong, hindi kaya biktima lang sila, at kung sakali mang totoong nakagawa sila ng krimen, ang isa pang tanong, ano ba ang dahilan at nagawa nila ito. Sa mga taga Provincial Jail , saludo po akong lahat sa inyo. pinatutunayan nyo lang na mas karapatdapat na kayo ang nasa labas at ang mga taong plastic na nandito sa labas ang dapat makulong dyan.
    Lahat ng tao ay may pagkakataong magbago kaya dapat bigyan sila ng pagkakataon. nakita ko rn yung mga items na ginagawa nila para maibenta, sana magkaroon ng courage ang mga may ari nga mga malalaking department store na i-display ang mga produktong ito para maibenta at maging tulong pinansyal sa mga inmates. maraming turista ang mahilig sa mga ganitong items bilang pang regalo , pang display at pasalubong lalo ngayong magpapasko. sana lang ang kinikita ng mga inmates na itoy wag pagsamantalahan at kupitan pa ng mga taong mukhang pera at mapagsamantala

    Sa ating mga inmates, Kung naniniwala po kayo sa good karma, wag po kayong mag alala at patuloy kayong magdasal at manalig sa nasa itaas, na kung hindi man manaig ang totoong hustisya para sa inyo sa dami ng mas masasama at nakapiring ang mata dito sa labas, magandang buhay at pagpapala ang ibabalik ng kabutihan nyo sa inyong mga pamilya. Patuloy po tayong manalig at magdasal

  4. Marie Ocampo,

    Kaning mga inmates is their choice. Kung na-a sila sa gawas patay sila sa gutom. Mas ma-ayo pa nga na-a sila sa sulod sa prisohan kay they have free room and board with 24/7 security. Naa-pay TV and recreational activities.

    They are in prison because of society’s and Jesus Christ’s neglect. If Jesus Christ were able to help the Israelis why neglect the only Roman Catholic in southeast Asia? This is reprehensible. This is totally unfer.

    What the inmates needs aside from dancing the “Thriller” is in-prison education and skills enhancement to give themselves value-added self-esteem.

    It’s the society that put these poor “criminals” who got away with it all.

  5. I will not debate with your decisions because I think you’re right on the money! You have put together a consistent case for your sentiments and now I know more about this unusual topic. Gives Thanks for this amazing post and i will come back for more.

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