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Immigration 'working double time' on cases to decongest Taguig detention facility

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Immigration 'working double time' on cases to decongest Taguig detention facility
The Bureau of Immigration Warden Facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City has been placed on lockdown.
Bureau of Immigration Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration is speeding up the resolution of pending deportation cases of foreign nationals to decongest its detention facility in Taguig City.

In a statement Wednesday, the bureau said Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente directed its legal division to conduct an inventory of all deportation cases and to submit appropriate recommendations to the board of commissioners.”

 “We don’t want COVID-19 transmissions to happen in our facility. We will work double time to deport aliens, especially for wards that are considered health risks,” he said.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval in a separate message to reporters said there are currently 418 foreign nationals staying at the BI Warden Facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan that has a capacity for 140 people.

Sandoval said that while there is overcapacity, there are “big open spaces” in the compound like covered court and common areas. “It’s not a jail, it’s a detention center so they can roam around more,” she added in Filipino.

Bail, recognizance of detainees

Morente said the bureau may look into granting bail and release via recognizance for foreign nationals who cannot be deported yet due to pending court cases.

Courts nationwide are currently physically closed and can only tackle cases deemed urgent.

Recognizance meanwhile is defined in Republic Act 10389 as a "mode of securing the release of any person in custody or detention for the commission of an offense who is unable to post bail due to abject poverty."

Deportation orders will also be fast-tracked, the commissioner said.

BI said it has identified three pregnant detainees as high-risk. Two have since been released through bail while one was deported.

Sanitation, lockdown of facility

The bureau said it set up a 24/7 internal health hotline and activated a medical task group to lead efforts in fighting against the disease.

The detention facility has also been placed under lockdown and visitors are, temporarily banned.

The facility was also disinfected and wards may only be allowed to enter common areas after proper sanitation.

“Protocols on what to do in case a positive case has been detected has also been established, and a medical officer is always on duty at the BIWF to monitor the health of wards and employees,” BI also said.

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

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