Gov’t urged: Transfer Bilibid to Nueva Ecija
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines -  Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon urged the Duterte administration yesterday to relocate the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to a military camp in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

Biazon made the appeal after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II revealed that the illegal drug trade has flourished again at the NBP, with convicted drug lords reviving their drug trafficking under the noses of the elite police guards deployed in the national penitentiary.

Some prison officials claimed that corrupt members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) have been coopted by the drug lords serving time at the NBP.

“The transfer of the prison to another location outside Metro Manila with new facilities has long been considered since the early 2000s when the administration of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo drew up plans to develop the NBP property,” Biazon said.

He said the Aquino government pursued the plan. But under President Duterte, “it seemed to have been lost completely.”

“The problems of the national penitentiary are caused by the subhuman living conditions of the prison and its location in an urban center,” Biazon said.

“There is a lot of motivation for inmates to pay for comfort, and drugs are a high-paying business for them. And with money, they can easily tempt the underpaid prison guards. The assignment of SAF troops to the NBP is not a guarantee of immunity from corruption,” he added.

Biazon said decades-old facilities have been modified by inmates and corrupt prison personnel to enable them to hide their criminal activities.

He pointed out that Bilibid’s location in an urban center such as Muntinlupa “made access to it easier and facilitated criminal activities within, aside from the danger that it poses to the residents in the area.”

“The basis and justification for the transfer of the NBP is right there in front of us. Simply assigning soldiers to guard prison facilities will not solve the problem in the long term,” Biazon said.

He said President Duterte should pursue the transfer of the national penitentiary to the mountains of Laur as part of his anti-drug campaign.

“If such radical reform is not done during his administration, then all the efforts to curb the drug problem will have been in vain,” Biazon said.             

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