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Muntinlupa LGU opposes transfer of COVID-19 infected inmates

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Muntinlupa LGU opposes transfer of COVID-19 infected inmates
January 2020 BuCor data showed thath there are 8,046 ODL detained at the medium security compound. Overall, there are 29,173 PDLs in the national penitentiary that has 453% occupancy rate and 353% congestion rate.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The government of Muntinlupa City asked the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to protest the transfer of COVID-19 patients from the Correctional Institution for Women to an isolation area in their locality.

Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi wrote to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograales to express the opposition of “majority of the Muntinlupeños” on the use of a New Bilibid Prison facility to isolate COVID-19 cases from the CIW in Mandaluyong City.

Fresnedi said that while they recognize that humanity should be extended to those infected, “we also have to consider the thousands of Muntinlupeños who are put at great risks with the additional COVID-19 patients brought to the city.”

The city mayor stressed that their local government exhausted measures to attend to health needs of their residents, including those in Bilibid and flatten the curve in Muntinlupa.

But COVID-19 patients were still brought into the city.

“[I]t is worthy to recall to mind that COVID-19 is a potential catastrophic virus that poses great risks not only to the people of Muntinlupa, the officials and personnel of the NBP but also of the inmates of said overcrowded prison facility where social distancing may not be feasible,” he added.

“It is in this light that this protest is purposely made because the City Government of Muntinlupa, as a caring City, has its paramount mission to promote the health and well being of its people—to shield them from the deadly virus,” Fresnedi added.

'Site Harry'

The Bureau of Corrections put up Bilibid quarantine area, Site Harry, that has 300 beds.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete earlier told reporters that BuCor officials’ attempt to inform city government of the transfer failed “as the relevant local official could not be reached.”

“In any event, we like [to] assure the local government of Muntinlupa and the city residents that all precautions and protocols were complied with in the transportation of individuals from CIW,” the DOJ spokesperson said.

He added that the construction of the quarantine facility complied with the World Health Organization and Department of Health standards.

Perete also said they are coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction of bigger quarantine area, should need arises.

The first COVID-19 confirmed cases in the national penitentiary passed away last weekend, while the Corrections bureau said they confirmed 48 COVID-19 cases in inmates and one case from its medical staff.

The Justice department last week eased guidelines for, and speed up, applications for parole and executive clemency to help decongest BuCor facilities.

Earlier this month, a group of 23 prisoners filed a petition before the Supreme Court to direct their temporary release during "“the duration of the state of public health emergency, national calamity, lockdown and community quarantine due to the threats of the COVID-19.”

The group is composed of political prisoners and detainees who are elderly sick or pregnant, who are detained in crowded facilities where social distancing is "practically impossible."

The Office of the Solicitor General, however, asked the high court to dismiss this petition, pointing out that the situation does not constitute valid grounds for the petitioners' release.

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS NEW BILIBID PRISON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 5, 2021 - 9:01pm

A thread of major news, developments and government pronouncements related the extended community quarantine across the country. Real-time updates about the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines are available in this live blog. (Main image by AFP/Ted Aljibe)

August 5, 2021 - 9:01pm

The province of Laguna and the cities of Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro will be placed on lockdown until the middle of August, Malacañang announces.

"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) beginning Aug. 6 until Aug. 15, 2021," presidential spokesman Harry Roque says in a statement.

Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro have been under the strictest quarantine classification since July 16. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

June 11, 2021 - 4:28pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 6,686 COVID-19 infections, bringing the national tally to 1,300,349.

  • Active cases: 61,345 or 4.7%% of the total
  • Recoveries: 3,190, pushing total to 1,216,497
  • Deaths: 196, bringing total to 22,507
August 3, 2020 - 7:14am

President Rodrigo Duterte approves the recommendation of Cabinet members to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says the new quarantine measures will be imposed starting midnight of August 4 and will stay in place until August 18.

June 29, 2020 - 12:32pm

The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 imposes a moratorium on the transit of locally stranded persons in Western Visayas, Cebu island, Mactan, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.

"Wala na po silang lugar para mag-quarantine," IATF spokesperson Harry Roque says in a virtual briefing. 

(They have no place to undergo quarantine anymore.)

June 28, 2020 - 4:29pm

The Department of Health announces 485 "fresh" COVID-19 cases on Sunday, June 28.

Another 168 are "late" cases, or "released to patients four days ago or more."

Most of the cases are still from the National Capital Region, with 245 "fresh" and 111 "late."

Central Visayas accounts for 120 "fresh" cases and 11 "late" ones. 

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