Separate prison for Muslim inmates proposed

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Separate prison for Muslim inmates proposed
Undated photo shows of New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Miguel De Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Muslim Affairs on Friday proposed to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to have a separate prison facility for Muslim inmates.

Presidential Adviser on Muslim Affairs Almarim Tillah aired the proposal to BuCor director Gregorio Catapang Jr. because of the difficulties experienced by Muslim inmates.

“During our dialogue and consultations with our Muslim brothers and sisters with various national government agencies, one of the discussions was the plight and challenges of Muslim PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) in our penitentiaries,” Tillah told Catapang.

According to Tillah, the initiative would help preserve Muslim culture and protect inmates by minimizing the risk of violence and conflict.

He also noted that Muslims have significant practices that must be observed, such as praying five times daily, eating halal meals and fasting for one month with different meal times during Ramadan.

Catapang said he assured Tillah that he would discuss the proposal with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.

Catapang also guaranteed that inmates under BuCor are allowed to practice their faith in penal facilities.

BuCor data shows that there are over 2,803 Muslim inmates in all penal and prison farms nationwide: 1,039 inmates in the New Bilibid Prison, 661 in Davao Prison and Penal Farm, 647 in Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm, 207 in the Correctional Institution for Women, 135 in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, 87 in San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm and 27 in Leyte Regional Prison.

According to Catapang, 657 Muslim inmates have been released under the administration of Remulla.

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