BuCor chief to impose ban on mobile phones

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2019   •   609

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag

MANILA, Philippines — Newly installed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag is set to impose a ban against carrying mobile phones within the premises of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Bantag said he will impose it first on himself.

“Para lang pamarisan po tayo (to set an example),” Bantag said in a radio interview.

“Baka sabihin nila ako pa ang nangunguna (Otherwise, they might accuse me of instigating the violation),” he added.

Bantag hopes the measure will stop narcotics transactions inside the NBP and eventually eliminate the culture of corruption inside the national penitentiary.

According to the official, drug lords behind bars still managed to command their cohorts outside the facility by just making a call despite the presence of jamming devices.

Bantag added that jail personnel should also heed the ban.

“Kung hindi natin sasawatain ang ganoong practice, pagpasok nila doon (ay) maari nilang ibenta na naman (If we don’t stop such practice, [jail personnel] might sell their phones to inmates),” the BuCor chief said.

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

BuCor reports 2 PDLs from Women’s Correctional succumbed to COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) reported on Tuesday (April 28) that two inmates at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City have died from coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The facility’s first inmate to test positive for COVID-19 died on Monday (April 27). The administration of the facility has already reached out to the relatives of the 72-year-old patient and has contacted the hospital for the proper disposition of the patient’s remains.

The patient was hospitalized on April 13 after experiencing symptoms of pneumonia. 

Her admission to the hospital prompted the contact tracing of several persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) with whom she had contact days before she was confined.

Meanwhile, the BuCor also reported that the CIW inmate who was admitted at East Avenue Medical Center  last April 13, expired on April 21 because of sepsis, systemic lupus and pneumonia. She was later confirmed positive for COVID-19. The test was conducted on April 14, but the result only came out on April 27.

To date, BuCor has 50 confirmed cases of PDLs positive for COVID-19, three of whom have succumbed to the disease.

All cases are found at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and the CIW, the BuCor said, while the rest of the penal facilities in the country remain free of the deadly virus. 

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