Ampatuans brought to Bilibid after conviction in massacre case

Robie de Guzman   •   December 19, 2019   •   676

An accused member of the Ampatuan family gestures to his relatives after the promulgation of the Maguindanao massacre at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, Philippines, 19 December 2019. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Ampatuan clan who were convicted of murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua without parole on Thursday over the 2009 massacre have been transferred to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Brothers Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan and others found guilty of 57 counts of murder were immediately boarded in a convoy of vehicles that made its way to NBP’s Maximum Security Compound.

A helicopter from the Philippine National Police hovered above the convoy until it arrived at the NBP at around 2:15 p.m.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag said they have already prepared for the commitment of the Ampatuans into the Maximum Security Compound where they will be detained along with other ordinary prisoners.

“Okay naman, mga ilang araw din kaming nag-prepare. May coordination tayo sa DILG, AFP pati sa local authorities. At yung usual procedure din naman ng mga persons deprived of liberty na bagong commit, yun din ang gagawin,” he said.

He also assured that there will be no special treatment for the Ampatuans inside the national penitentiary.

Normal operations in the NBP, including visitation privileges, will resume on Friday after it was suspended as part of the security measures implemented in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City and nearby facilities for the promulgation of the Ampatuan massacre case. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Sherwin Culubong)

DOH reports setting up of quarantine facilities in some detention centers vs spread of COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   May 1, 2020

The NBP COVID-19 Quarantine area (Site Harry), was further configured to be ready to accommodate more patients if need be during this period of COVID-19 pandemic. | BuCor

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said that quarantine centers have been installed in some detention facilities in the country to prevent the spread and manage the cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are closely working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in building isolation facilities for probable and suspect coronavirus cases inside detention facilities such as the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

“ICRC has installed a 110-bed capacity quarantine facility in the medium-security New Bilibid Prison. Multi-disciplinary technical support has likewise been supplied to the Correctional Institute for Women as an emergency response to its confirmed cases detected recently,” Duque said in a statement.

The Health chief added that the ICRC is also assisting the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in setting up temporary isolation centers for COVID-19 positive PDLs who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.

“A 48-bed quarantine facility in the Quezon City Jail in Payatas is now fully operational with 40 admitted detainees,” the DOH said.

“It is being expanded to 200 beds and will open shortly in collaboration with BJMP,” it added.

The health department also reported that a 40-bed quarantine facility at the New San Fernando District Jail and an 80-bed quarantine facility at the Quezon District Jail in Pagbilao, Lucena City are likewise being prepared.

“Such isolation centers were set-up with separate areas for patients and sleeping quarters for staff, electricity, water, cots, and basic furnishings,” it said.

“The staff were also furnished with medical equipment, personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and tablet devices to facilitate contact between patients and their relatives,” it added.

Training on infection prevention and control, and management of the dead based on DOH and WHO guidelines were also provided.

Aside from the ICRC, the Health chief said they are also coordinating with the Department of Justice, and the World Health Organization for the conduct of an initial assessment, investigation and management of cases at the Correctional Institution for Women-Bureau of Corrections and the NBP.

This is to ensure that “infection control measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in penal and correctional facilities.”

Duque said that other closed-setting facilities such as orphanages, and homes for the aged will also be monitored with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Multi-sectoral efforts are ramped up to support all vulnerable areas to stem this pandemic. In all closed-setting facilities, a single case of an asymptomatic positive COVID-19 case can be a disaster,” he said.

The measure comes after more than 200 detainees and personnel at three city jails in the country were reported to have contracted the viral respiratory disease.

BuCor preps ‘Site Harry’ for COVID-19 response at NBP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 1, 2020

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) continues to prepare the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine area at Site Harry.

On Thursday (April 30), BuCor received medical supplies and other equipment from the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). The ICRC also renovated the isolation area for the Person’s Deprived of Liberty (PDL) who are exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms.

The ICRC donated personal protective equipment (PPEs), beds and pillows.

The said isolation area was previously used as a work area for making handicrafts. The area can accommodate up to 100 PDLs.

“The families of the PDL in the NBP can be assured that there is now a comfortable facility that can accommodate their PDL loved ones in case of confinement in relation to COVID-19,” BuCor said in a statement. AAC

New Bilibid Prison remains COVID-19 free – BuCor Chief

Marje Pelayo   •   April 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) clarified reports that a number of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) inside the national penitentiary are suspected of having coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag in an interview with the program ‘Get It Straight with Daniel Razon’ on Thursday (April 16) assured that the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) remains COVID-19 free.

It was to allay fears of inmates’ relatives considering the situation inside the NBP.

Nevertheless, General Bantag assured they are closely monitoring the health of PDLs inside NBP.

In fact, Bantag said, the NBP has installed a tent at the maximum security compound where PDLs manifesting symptoms of coronavirus infection — like cough, cold, and fever — are checked and observed.

Minsan kasi may pagkakataon na para tayong sinisipon, iyan po ay mino-monitor kaagad natin (At times when one seems to be suffering from a cold, we make sure to monitor such conditions at once),” Bantag explained.

Ngayon, kapag nakitaan po natin ng mga flu-like symptoms, kina-quarantine kaagad po natin hanggang sa ma-reach po nila ang 14 days na clearing period nila. At kapag wala po, binabalik na natin sa dati. Kaya wala po tayong COVID dito,” he added.

(Once we notice flu-like symptoms, we immediately place them under quarantine until they complete the 14-day clearing period. Once cleared, we return them to their barracks. We are sure there is no COVID here.]

The BuCor Chief added that disinfection is regularly conducted in all BuCor facilities.

To date, there are more than 27,000 PDLs in confinement inside the NBP.MNP (with inputs from Sherwin Culubong)

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