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Few contraband seized from Cebu City Jail a ‘good sign’ — Tomas

CEBU, Philippines - The confiscation of just a few contraband items in a raid inside the Cebu City Jail Saturday dawn was a “good sign,” according to Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

“It's a good sign. So far, it's a good sign, if the search was done properly. But, the way you look at it, it shows that they’re doing a decent job,” he told reporters yesterday.

Personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Central Visayas raided the city jail past 1 a.m. Saturday and hauled “very little” contraband, including five grams of shabu worth P30,000, nine cellular phones, assorted drug paraphernalia, a bladed weapon and notebooks that contained some names.

Councilor David Tumulak, who heads the City Council committee on public order and safety, said the minimal contraband items retrieved during the recent raid showed that the jail officers have been doing their job in searching and filtering those who enter the jail facility.

Tumulak said the greyhound operation was planned last Friday.

Prior to the operation, Tumulak said he received a copy of the order relieving City Jail Warden Superintendent Jessie Calumpang.

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But the order did not specify exactly the date of implementation and the official who will replace Calumpang.

On the other hand, Tumulak said Bureau of Jail Management and Penology- 7 Director Dennis Rocamora informed him that the bureau’s national headquarters has set aside P300 million for the construction of a new jail facility in Cebu City.

The BJMP national headquarters is set to ask for a lot donation from the city government so it could build a new facility.

Tumulak said the move is to decongest the existing city jail that is currently housing at least 4,156 inmates, exceeding its 1,000 capacity.

“Hopefully karung tuiga na matukod kay for bidding na kuno. Kita pud sa city government, pasalamat pud ta nga nigahin sila sa pagpatukod kay sa pagkakaron di pa man ta katukod,” he said.

Meanwhile, the City Council wanted to make sure that the proposed installation of mobile jammers at the city jail will not affect its neighboring areas.

In an executive session last week, council members discussed the proposed resolution of Tumulak to purchase four units of Multi Band High Power cellular Phone Jammer to be installed at the city jail.

One unit costs P245,000 but there’s a possibility that the price would still go down as it is subjected to a public bidding.

Councilor James Anthony Cuenco said he wants to determine the social impact of the proposed measure to the neighborhood.

National Telecommunications Commission-7 Jesus Laureno and Calumpang recently attended the council session.

Laureno, for his part, said the city government should consider the power of the jamming device that it should only reach to the intended area, which is the jail facility.

“For us to determine the parameters of this device, we need to know the technical specifications,” he said, adding that they cannot confine radio waves in just a specific area.

Laureno said the city government should send a letter justifying the use of the device and the specific areas to be covered.

With this, Tumulak asked Laureno to assist the city and the BJMP to guide on the specifications of the device that they will procure.

Laureno recommended the use of signal jammer in the jail, saying “it’s the only way we can eliminate signals of cellular phones.”

Laureno assured that landlines will not be affected once the signal jammers are installed.

Calumpang, for his part, admitted that it is “very hard” to detect the visitors who are trying to slip contraband like cellular phones into the jail.

“They will not bring it sa ilang kamot. We have to consider how they will hide the phones. Sometines they hide it in their private parts. That is why I requested for an ordinance to put penalty or imprisonment as a penalty for those that will be apprehended nga visitors bringing contrabands,” he said.

The council’s adhoc committee on Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) funds has yet to render a report on the proposed measure. (FREEMAN)

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