BuCor COVID-19 cases rise to 301; 223 are inmates
This photo taken May 25 shows elderly inmates of the New Bilibid Prison who will undergo rapid test for COVID-19.
Bureau of Corrections/Facebook page released
BuCor COVID-19 cases rise to 301; 223 are inmates
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 18, 2020 - 1:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — The number of COVID-19 infections among the Bureau of Corrections inmates and personnel rose to 301, the Justice department said Thursday.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said the highest number of COVID-19 cases was recorded at the New Bilibid Prison where 141 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) contracted the coronavirus.

DOJ also recorded 82 confirmed cases at the Correctional Institution for Women inmates.

This means that in two of BuCor’s overcrowded prisons have a total of 223 inmates have contracted the deadly coronavirus disease. Data from January 2020 showed that the NBP has occupancy rate of 453% and congestion rate of 353% while the CIW has occupancy rate of 340% and congestion rate of 240%.

Other penal farms and colonies under the bureau remain COVID-19 free.

Among bureau staff, DOJ said 38 Bilibid personnel and seven from the CIW were confirmed to have contracted the disease. “From the National Headquarters where thirty-three personnel are confirmed to be COVID-19 positive,” Perete also said.

Penal and detention facilities across the country are known to be overcrowded, where social distancing and proper hygiene—practices meant to deter spread of the novel coronavirus—are practically impossible for inmates.

Of the recorded cases, 145 have recovered while 16 died.

This puts active number of COVID-19 cases at the bureau at 140.

Perete said the “BuCor continues its testing and contact-tracing efforts to prevent further infections.”

The bureau is also waiting for the arrival of 5,000 rapid test kits from the European Union-funded GoJust Programme “while at the same time augments its medical and health personnel in the affected sites.”

According to President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest report to the Congress, as of as of June 3, the Board of Pardons and Parole received 984 carpetas or applications and 165 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) have been granted parole.

The grant of paroles was done under the DOJ’s Interim Guidelines which reduced documentary requirements for parole review and executive clemency. The guidelines took effect on May 15 and will continue to be effective while the state of national emergency is in place.

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