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