Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is pushing for the establishment of a “super max” facility in an “isolated place,” such as an island, for those convicted of heinous crimes.
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Senators eye NBP lease to build regional prisons
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senators are proposing to have the 500-hectare New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City leased to private developers and use its proceeds to put up state penitentiaries in various regions.

The lawmakers pushed the establishment of modern prisons in regions as the Senate Blue Ribbon committee continued to uncover anomalies at the NBP – ones that turn out to be deeply entrenched due to the large size of the state penitentiary, lack of personnel, poor facilities and congestion.

These made corruption easy, especially with rich convicts in it.

 Although the NBP’s capacity is only for over 17,000 inmates, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials say the current population stands at over 30,000.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is pushing for the establishment of a “super max” facility in an “isolated place,” such as an island, for those convicted of heinous crimes.

“The well-off prisoners and leaders of syndicates continue to live a luxurious life within the confines of our prison system. Worse, others continue their nefarious and illegal activities such as drug dealing inside the prison cell, in cahoots with prison personnel. It perpetuates the belief that there are two faces of justice in the country, justice for the poor and justice for the rich,” Zubiri said in his Senate Bill 1004.

Sen. Richard Gordon also proposed the establishment of a Heinous Crime Penitentiary (HCP), which can be in the Army’s sprawling Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.

Fort Magsaysay, the largest military reservation in the country, has 35,000 hectares and is being administered by the 7th Infantry Division of the Army, he said.

In his Senate Bill 983, Gordon explained that the HCP “will house the most dangerous, vicious and violent criminals.”

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the NBP proper is actually just over 300 hectares as the rest was converted into a residential area.

Even so, at a conservative price of P40,000 per square meter based on zonal valuation, the government can easily raise P60 billion to P120 billion in outright sale, he said.

Lacson however said he prefers a long-term lease of the land so the government can continue receiving income, which can be used to put up new prisons across the country.

With the money, the new prisons can have modern facilities that minimize human intervention, he added.

 BuCor officer-in-charge Melvin Buenafe told the committee on Thursday that the bureau lacks manpower, including a counter-intelligence unit to detect corruption; facilities; and equipment to properly perform its mandate.

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS HEINOUS CRIME PENITENTIARY NEW BILIBID PRISON
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