Nearly 22,000 inmates released from PH jails amid coronavirus pandemic — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2020   •   401

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said that a total of 21,858 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) have been released from jail facilities managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said these PDLs were released from March 17 to July 13 from 470 BJMP facilities nationwide in a move to decongest overcrowded jails amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Of the total number of inmates released, 15,102 were paralegal releases through bail, plea-bargaining, parole, or probation while 6,756 were non-paralegal releases through acquittal or served sentence.

Of the PDLs released, 409 were elderly, 621 were sick, and 24 were pregnant.

“Patunay lamang ito na sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi nakakaligtaan ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan at kabutihan ng ating mga kapatid na nakapiit sa mga kulungan, lalong-lalo na iyong mga matatanda, mahihina at buntis. Nagpapasalamat din kami sa Supreme Court sa kanilang mga bagong guidelines na nakatulong sa maraming PDLs,” Año said.

“The DILG through the BJMP is also taking concrete measures to decongest our jails such as improving and putting up more jail facilities and fast-tracking the court hearings of PDLs,” he added.

Meanwhile, the DILG Chief said the BJMP is conducting targeted testing in 51 jail facilities and three BJMP offices that have been compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Año said that of the jail units, Region VII had the highest number of positive cases at 731; followed by CALABARZON at 146; and National Capital Region at 139.

Other BJMP facilities with reported cases are Region IX with 84; Region III with 13; MIMAROPA and Region VI with four cases each; Cordillera Administrative Region and Region XI with one case each.

As of July 15, 2020, Año said there are only 180 active COVID-19 cases in the BJMP, 126 of whom are PDLs, and 54 are BJMP personnel.

He said 895 PDLs and jail personnel have recovered, while 11 died from the disease.

He said that the recovery rate for PDLs is 82% and 69% for BJMP personnel, while the death rate is at 1.05% for PDLs and 0.56% for BJMP personnel.

Año said the BJMP is sustaining its stringent measures to keep its other facilities COVID-free. These include contract tracing, immediate isolation of suspected cases, proper medical attention, electronic dalaw or “e-dalaw,” set up of handwashing areas, and regular disinfection in jail premises, among others.

IATF to study mayors’ bid to retain Metro Manila under GCQ after Sept. 30 – Año

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Most mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) are in favor of extending the general community quarantine (GCQ) being implemented in the region, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.

Año said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet on Sunday, Sept. 27 to discuss the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council on the next quarantine status in NCR by October.

“Maraming mga mayors ng NCR ang gusto pa rin mag-GCQ pero depende pa rin sa usapan sa Sunday,” he said.

Metro Manila is under GCQ until Sept. 30 as earlier recommended by the IATF and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Año said they will thoroughly discuss the Metro Manila mayors’ proposal in order to balance the factors of public health and economy which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dalawa ‘yan: mahigpit na MGCQ o maluwag na GCQ. Kapag titignan mo mas maganda talaga na naka-GCQ tayo kahit magluwag ka ng konti pero meron kang talagang mas mataaas na panuntunan kaysa yung nag MGCQ ka pagkatapos hihigpitan mo,” he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier said that Metro Manila could be placed under modified GCQ as this would allow the reopening of more industries to help revive the economy.

The IATF is also set to meet with Duterte on Sunday night to discuss the next quarantine classifications in NCR. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Facility-based isolation for asymptomatic, mild COVID-19 cases now mandatory

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now requiring facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases through IATF Resolution 74.

The new policy however, exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities and their home meets the conditions specified in the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001. 

Likewise, another exception is when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.

Iloilo City placed under MECQ from Sept. 25 until Oct. 9

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo City has been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective September 25 until October 9 due to the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque the new measure is based on the issued Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution 74 which also requires facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases.

However, the resolution exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities as confirmed by the local health officer.

Another exception would be when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.

On Tuesday (September 22), 33 employees of the Iloilo City Hall tested positive for COVID-19 prompting the three-day temporary closure of the establishment beginning Wednesday (September 23) as declared by Mayor Jerry Treñas in Executive Order No. 215-A.

Prior to that, 13 barangays in the city were placed under total lockdown due to the increase in community transmission of COVID-19.

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