Kapatid, a group of relatives and friends of political prisoners, said the supposed improper handling of the facilities inside the NBP led to the “critical conditions” of inmates.
Edd Gumban/File
Group blames improper conditions for high NBP mortality rate
Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — The alleged improper condition of inmates inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa is the cause of the high mortality rate among prisoners, according to prisoners’ rights advocates.

Kapatid, a group of relatives and friends of political prisoners, said the supposed improper handling of the facilities inside the NBP led to the “critical conditions” of inmates.

Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim, wife of National Democratic Front political consultant Vic Ladlad, said the issues hounding the NBP resulted in the death of one inmate a day. 

Lim, along with Congressmen Ferdie Gaite and France Castro, set up a meeting with Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Gerald Bantag last Friday to address their concerns. 

However, Bantag failed to attend the meeting, apparenlty because the BuCor chief had another meeting with Sen. Richard Gordon, Lim said.

Lim said the high mortality rate inside NBP could be tied to the alleged human rights violations inside the prison. 

She said they would stop at nothing to send this message across.

“We will continue to press (BuCor) to meet with us to present our concerns regarding restrictions on visiting hours, inadequate water supply especially clean drinking water, lack of medical attention for sick prisoners (and) no living quarters to replace those destroyed by clearing operations,” she said. 

“These issues are responsible for the BuCor’s own data that one inmate dies every day,” she added.

Dehydration and lack of medical attention was blamed for the death of 29 NBP inmates in the past month. 

The demolition of illegal shanties inside the NBP compound has displaced prisoners who lost their sleeping quarters, but the BuCor denied the allegations. 

NBP hospital chief Henry Fabro said the mortality rate inside the national penitentiary is in critical condition. 

Fabro said the rate inside the NBP is at 0.5 percent of the population, well above the world standard of 0.2 percent.

He added that this is mainly due to the poorly equipped hospital and an astonishingly few medical professionals. 

He said there are only 13 physicians attending to the more than 47,000 prisoners, across seven penal colonies of the BuCor. 

Fabro asked for the help of the Department of Health to address the issue. 

 

 

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