Philippine jails get medical, teleconferencing equipment
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The European Union (EU) has provided detention facilities in the Philippines with P2.9 million worth of medical and teleconferencing equipment in support of efforts to address the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are pleased to provide assistance to the criminal justice system as they address new challenges resulting from COVID-19,” Thomas Wiersing, chargé d’affaires of EU Delegation to the Philippines, said in a statement yesterday.

The support is part of the EU’s Governance in Justice Programme, which aims to strengthen the Philippine justice system through increased efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.

The multimedia equipment would support the eDalaw system of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, which would enable persons deprived of liberty to communicate with their families and lawyers amid prohibitions of all outsiders in detention facilities due to the pandemic.

It would also be used to support the pilot testing of hearings of criminal cases through video conferencing as mandated by a recent Supreme Court circular.

EU said the initiative builds on existing support provided to justice zone areas in Quezon City, Davao, Cebu, Angeles, Bacolod and Naga.

Aside from the gadgets, the EU has also provided detention facilities with test kits, personal protective equipment, disinfecting agents and other medical equipment to prevent the spread COVID-19.

The EU noted that the Philippines, whose detention facilities are among the most congested in the world, already has confirmed cases and fatalities involving detainees.

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