MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) is alarmed by the growing number of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in jail facilities across the National Capital Region (NCR) after the current congestion rate clocked in at 608 percent.
“Ang congestion rate in NCR malaki na. 608 po ang NCR, out of the 442 out of the nationwide average so mataas nang bahagya, (The congestion rate in the National Capital Region is 608%, slightly higher than 442% average nationwide),” BJMP day officer-in-charge, Jail Chief Supt. Allan Iral told reporters in a press briefing at the BJMP Headquarters in Quezon City on Tuesday (April 9).
The official noted that the Manila City Jail and the Quezon City Jail are the most populated facilities in the NCR.
The Manila City Jail is currently housing 5,731 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in a facility that has a capacity of only 1,200 PDLs.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City Jail is in the same quandary with 5,236 PDLs squeezing in to fit the facility that was designed for 800 to 900 PDLs only.
To address the issue, Iral noted the creation of a National Project Monitoring Team to fast-track the construction of jail facilities.
“Kaya po may creation ng national project monitoring team. Sila na mag-eensure na dapat yung project [ay] gagawin lalo na sa construction ng facilities (That’s why a national monitoring team is created. It is to ensure that construction of jail facilities pushes through),” Iral said.
“Pag sinabi sa contract na one year tapos yung building dapat within one year ma-turnover sa amin, (If the contract states the project should be completed in one year, the building must be turned over to us in one year),” he added.
The official expects that once the projects are completed, jail congestion rate nationwide will be reduced by 200 percent.
Iral noted that two jail facilities are now under construction, one in San Juan City and another in Payatas, Quezon City.
These would help reduce jail congestion rate in Metro Manila.
The facility in San Juan City is expected to be completed next year while the one in Quezon City may be finished in 2021. – Marje Pelayo
MANILA, Philippines – The maximum compound of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) has been a home to around 500 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who are now suffering from symptoms of tuberculosis.
Thus, the International Committee of the Red Cross held a medical mission to check on their conditions.
According to NBP Chief Doctor Henry Fabro, most PDLs are showing signs of tuberculosis and pneumonia which need immediate attention.
“Marami ang may sakit sa baga, TB at pneumonia (Many are contracting respiratory problems like TB and pneumonia),” Fabro said.
“Sinusundan iyan ng sakit sa puso, high blood pressure, sakit sa bato na dina-dialysis natin (Some have heart ailments, high blood pressure, kidney problems who are undergoing dialysis procedure),” he added.
There are around 28,000 PDL inside the NBP and 18,000 of them are inside the maximum compound.
Jail administrators said it is inevitable for them to contract such diseases because of their number inside the facility.
“With that population and with the limited space siempre nagkakahawahan iyan (it’s inevitable for them to be infected as well),” explained NBP Chief PIO Col. Gabriel Chaklag.
“May mga infectious diseases and at the same time some of our PDL are senior citizens so just imagine ang susceptibility nila sa other diseases (Many have infectious diseases and, at the same time, some of our PDLs are senior citizens so imagine their susceptibility to other diseases),” he added.
At present, there are over 160 patients confined inside the NBP hospital suffering from respiratory problems.
The inmates expressed gratitude to the management of the NBP and the assistance of non-government organizations in addressing their medical needs.
“Nagagamot naman din nila. Pero sobrang dami talaga dito ang nagkakasakit (They are able to treat them. But a lot had been really sickly),” said one of the inmates.
“Kaya nagpapasalamat po kami na mayroong mga ganyang x-ray (We’re thankful that, at least, we can avail of x-ray services),” he added.
However, the NBP management still lacks physicians to attend to all the medical conditions of the inmates.
At present, the facility only has six doctors in rotation.
The facility also needs additional equipment like x-rays and ECG machines. – MNP (with inputs from Sherwin Culubong)
Two days more to go before the expiration of the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who were freed by virtue of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
In the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) data, only around 700 of them have surrendered and are now under the custody of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
This prompted the DOJ to mull over coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in capturing these freed PDLs even without warrants of arrest, should they fail to surrender after the September 19 deadline.
“Each minute, each hour, each day that you refuse to turn yourself in is a continuing commission of an offense and for that reason, law enforcement agencies may arrest you even without a warrant,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
The DOJ said they are ready to face anyone who will elevate the matter to the court.
“He may go to court and ask for any relief you wish to obtain from the court, but for now that is how we intend to (do it) and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) through the PNP (Philippine National Police) is ready to do so after the 19th,” said Guevarra.
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law Dean Attorney George Erwin Garcia, however, said this is a blatant violation of the Constitution.
Garcia said that based on the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, every individual has the right to due process and can only be detained if there is court-issued warrant of arrest or if he is caught in the act of committing a crime.
Garcia said any convict who wishes to challenge this government’s move may file a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the Supreme Court.
The Writ of Habeas Corpus orders an individual or government official who has custody of a person to bring that person to the Court to determine if his detention was legally done.
The latest DOJ data shows that of the 1,914 PDLs freed under the CGTA, 692 have already surrendered and are now under the custody of BuCor. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
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