BJMP on red alert until Saturday

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2019   •   1547

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) is on red alert status to ensure the safety and security of jails during the Lenten week.

The measure is in view of the expected surge of visitors this holiday, according to BJMP director Allan Iral.

“I directed all our regional directors to supervise their jurisdictions to accommodate visitors and prevent any untoward incident,” he said.

Meanwhile, the official said the leave privileges of the BJMP personnel manning all 476 jails across the country are cancelled during the Lenten break.

Iral also directed wardens to intensify security and safety measures by conducting incident management or contingency plans in case of any untoward incidents while some inmates participate in Lent-related activities.

The jail official said the red alert status would be in effect starting Wednesday (April 17) until Saturday (April 20). – Marje Pelayo

9 inmates at QC Jail, 9 BJMP personnel test positive for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   April 17, 2020

Inmates at the Manila City Jail | Courtesy: Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) on Friday confirmed that nine of its personnel and nine detainees at the Quezon City Jail have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the BJMP said the virus-infected inmates have been brought to a quarantine facility after manifesting coronavirus symptoms.

They were among the 41 inmates said to have been exposed to an inmate in Quezon City Jail who recently died of suspected COVID-19.

A contact tracing is now being conducted for those who may have been exposed to the virus-infected prisoners, the BJMP said.

Detainees at Quezon City Jail who are experiencing cough, colds, fever, and have pre-existing medical conditions were also isolated.

BJMP spokesperson Jail Inspector Xavier Solda also confirmed that nine of their personnel have contracted the contagious respiratory disease.

He, however, said the employees are not exhibiting severe coronavirus symptoms and are currently undergoing home quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the BJMP to respond to a petition seeking temporary freedom on humanitarian grounds amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The plea was filed in early April by a group of 22 prisoners who are old and have underlying medical conditions and currently detained in various jail facilities in Metro Manila.

The high court directed the BJMP to comment on the petition within five days. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

AFP, PNP suspends ops vs CPP-NPA as Pres. Duterte declares ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have suspended their offensive operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).

This, after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the ceasefire agreement between the national government and the communist group for the holiday season.

Read: PH gov’t, Reds declare holiday truce; eye resumption of peace talks

Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said the military will immediately implement the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) in accordance with the order of the commander-in-chief despite the red alert status that the AFP has raised in line with the communist group’s celebration of its 51st anniversary on December 26.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo M. Año, on the part of the police, said: “it is the prerogative of the President, as commander-in-chief, to declare a unilateral ceasefire for the Christmas season and we abide by his decision.”

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to comply and to issue appropriate orders to all units in the field.

“While we remain vigilant and take a strong defensive stance, this will also give an opportunity for our policemen and soldiers in the field to spend a meaningful celebration of Christmas with their families,” the DILG chief said.

On Sunday (Dec. 22) PNP officer-in-charge PLtGen. Archie Francisco Gamboa issued a memorandum on the agency’s implementation of Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) amid their full alert status.

PNP Spokesman Police B/Gen. Bernard Banac said that with this directive, the PNP will not conduct offensive activities from December 23 to January 7.

Año hopes that the rebel group will make use of the ceasefire as an opportunity “for them to surrender, avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Community Integration Program (ECLIP), rejoin mainstream society, and start a new life together with their families”. — (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

DILG backs bid to integrate provincial jails to BJMP

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has expressed full support to the proposal to integrate all provincial jails to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to “professionalize and standardize the management of jails at the local level.”

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon made the proposal in a bid to put up national and local jail systems under the Department of Justice and Bureau of Corrections and the DILG and BJMP, respectively.

“We fully support Senator Drilon’s proposal to bring all provincial jails into our fold at the BJMP because this will not only standardize policies and rules in managing jails but will also ensure that local jails are manned by highly-trained and competent jail personnel,”DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año said some jails managed by local government units (LGUs) usually employ ill-trained, ill-equipped personnel and lack adequate facilities making them prone to escapes.

“I am confident that with BJMP’s competence in managing jails and with its professional corps of uniformed jail officers, prison break incidents in provincial jails will be substantially reduced,”he said.

The DILG chief also believes that the transfer of provincial jails to BJMP will also be advantageous to local governments as they will not anymore worry about issues like riots, jailbreaks, salaries of local jail personnel, and meals for the persons deprived of liberty.

BJMP records show that there are 74 provincial jails nationwide. Thirteen of these jails are now being supervised and manned by the BJMP by virtue of a memorandum of agreement between the LGUs and the provincial governments. Meanwhile, seven provinces have no provincial jails.

If the 61 provincial jails with a total population of 32,940 will be turned over to the BJMP, Año said they will need to hire and train additional 14,573 officers to man these jails.

Año cited the Republic Act No. 6975 which mandates the Jail Bureau to take operational and administrative control over all city, district and municipal jails. Under the Local Government Code, however, provincial and sub-provincial jails are under the management and control of the Provincial Governments making for a disjointed local jail system.

Heinous crime penitentiary

The DILG chief also supports the proposal to create a Heinous Crimes Penitentiary (HCP) facility in the Philippines to purge the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) of high-risk criminals.

Mabuti po iyon para mas mabantayan natin iyong mga illegal drug lords, CPP-NPA at terrorist groups,” Año said during the presentation of the proposed DILG 2020 budget to the Senate Committee on Finance.

Some senators earlier pushed for the creation of an ‘Alcatraz-like prison’ for convicted heinous criminals. The facility is being eyed to be set up in Palawan near the West Philippine Sea where face-to-face visitation with families will no longer be allowed.

“We strongly support your proposed bill to serve as a deterrent for criminals from further committing such heinous acts,” said Año.

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