Words of Praise.
"I extend my sincerest gratitude to the Commission on Higher Education for recognizing the College Education Behind Bars project in Davao City as an exemplary contribution to the nation’s fight against illegal drugs.
A first of its kind in the Philippines and across Asia, this trailblazing project highlights the transformative potential for prison education programs in transcending the stigma against Filipinos deprived of freedom and shaping them into dignified, contributing members of our nation.
By combining the power of rehabilitation and higher education, we strive to change the old narrative of our people in prison. We acknowledge their humanity. We give them hope. We are connecting them to their fundamental right to education."
Sara Z. Duterte
Vice President of the Philippines
Secretary of the Department of Education
October 7, 2022.
Awards and Accolades
With hundreds of lives being radically transformed by education and rehabilitation, news media have aired and printed numerous news releases about the success of both Minority Care International and College Education Behind Bars. Local and national newspapers and outlets have featured various facets of the program from the college graduates’ stories, to restoration of vision through eyeglasses distribution, and students’ earning certificates and awards for their extra service work with many articles archived under the News tab. Since CEBB is unique in the Philippines, national recognition has taken the form of major awards and visitations by national and international dignitaries, such as the chairmen of the Dangerous Drug Board, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Higher Education, as well as the the directors of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of Corrections and the Chief of Staff of the US Embassy in Manila.
Awards and Honors
Davao Region Excellence Awards in Project Implementation and Monitoring (DREAPIM), 2023
Prison Education Award to Dr. Aland Mizell for initiating CEBB at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, 2023.
Presidential Award for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas to MCI graduate and RN, Jerwin Capuras, 2021.
Datu Bago Award to Dr. Aland Mizell, highest award given to Davaoenos for contributions to the city, bestowed by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, 2020.
Datu Bago Award received by Attorney Susan Cariaga for her role in establishing CEBB, 2021.
Support of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) under Chairman J. Prospero “Popoy” de Vera awarded, 2019.
Hosted Second International Conference on Transformative Education for Successful Reentry, 2019
Hosted First International Conference on Transformative Education for Successful Reenty, 2018.
SETBI partners with Dangerous Drug Board of the Philippines, 2018.
Prison Education Award by Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio for initiating CEBB, 2017.
MCI team earned second place at the Davao City Annual Youth Soccer Tournament, 2014.
In 2006, a graduate student visited Davao to conduct research and saw the need to help the economically disadvantaged and often marginalized. Today literally thousands of lives have been impacted immediately and for long-term good in the Mindanao region by sister non- government organizations spawned from that initial visit. Minority Care International and the Social Entrepreneurship Technology Business Institute that implemented College Education Behind Bars have transformed the well-being and livelihood of hundreds of young people, so that they give back to others improving the lives of the recipients and their own in the process.
Minority Care International has provided resources and direction for over a hundred to become college graduates, producing not only breadwinners and community leaders, but also nurses, social workers, pharmacists, engineers, educators, doctors, business entrepreneurs, and accountants. As part of the program, students attend weekly forums with speakers ranging from attorneys, doctors, government leaders and medical personnel who train and equip students to be good citizens and active participants in their communities. Students from five or six universities invite their friends, so that usually fifty or so attend these discussions on current issues and practical solutions each week. MCI scholars also participate in service learning projects with the result that students at about sixteen underfunded schools, particularly madrassas, have received backpacks with needed school supplies and enjoyed student-led parties where the MCI scholars discuss their educational goals and experiences. In addition, hosting eleven Restoring Vision events, the scholars have distributed more than 4000 eyeglasses and given eye checkups to more than 5000 individuals, often addressing presbyopia in various, mostly economically disadvantage communities. Committed to helping restore vision, and thus transform lives for the underprivileged, MCI dispensed reading glasses to the “people deprived of liberty” (PDL) at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.
Other community projects have provided water tanks, sand bags to flooding areas, and disaster relief. MCI education majors partnered with the Commission on Higher Education to offer daily tutoring in a variety of subjects to at-risk students. An MCI soccer team recruits youths who have dropped out of school, challenging them to the discipline of playing alcohol and drug-free in competition with other city teams. Volleyball and soccer tournaments and camps offer a more constructive friend group to those with few positive role models. Study retreats held each summer teach attendees, generally fifty or so, through an inspirational biographical book and ensuing discussions to consider their underpinnings and alternatives to their life choices. Over a dozen MCI scholars have engaged in the study abroad program attending a well-known university in the US and interning at a hospital or business to learn international practices in their field. Several hundred students have worked at the coffee shop learning life skills, customer relations, and hygienic standards. MCI has partnered with several local universities in Davao to bring speakers from the United States, including professors, bankers, government representatives, and business professionals, setting up educational seminars for the university faculty and students and for city leaders with hundreds attending each event.
The Social Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Business Institute has taught scores the practices of social entrepreneurship to design a business to help alleviate poverty. It has certified groups to lead step rehabilitation teams addressing hurts, hang-ups, and habits of hundreds participating in the semester long programs. In 2016, SETBI’s College Education Behind Bars accepted its first students with now more than 300 having been enrolled and more than fifty having graduated, become fully employed, and successfully reintegrated into society. Three years later the CEBB program was replicated in the regional prison and has graduated nineteen in its two years of existence with more being enrolled in the program as the new facility at the prison opens.