BJMP: All Cebu jails congested
Lorraine Mitzi A. Ambrad (The Freeman) - January 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology has reported that all jail facilities in Cebu are now over congested.

Supt. Rosalina Malahay reported during the first quarter meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council that all 21 BJMP-run facilities in the province are already operating beyond their capacity.

She said that the 21 facilities only has a total capacity of 3,000 inmates but are now running with 15,457 prisoners.

She cited as an example the Consolacion Municipal Jail, which has 201 inmates, a facility meant only for 19 individuals; Danao City Jail has 1,014 inmates which is 12.3 times its 82 ideal capacity; and Medellin has 564 instead of just 58.

Overstaying in the jails or serving jail time beyond the maximum penalty of one’s case due to lack of lawyers is among the reasons cited by Governor Hilario Davide III why there is congestion problem. The governor sits as the chairman of PPOC.

Provincial Health Officer Rene Catan, a council member, said that congestion led to multiple problems including the health of the inmates.

Commission on Human Rights Investigator Leo Villarino said this is why he understands Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) when it refuses to accept new inmates.

He said that he also agrees with CPDRC Warden Reynaldo Valmoria that subjecting the inmates in an inhumane environment makes the management accountable and is therefore punishable by law.

To address congestion, Catan suggested looking for an inhabited island which can be utilized as an isolated jail facility. He highlighted that it would address the concerns on having a humane environment for the inmates. He said it is possible that the reformation programs would become better as well.

While his idea seemed “out of the box,” he said it should also be seriously taken into consideration.

“Just because someone has not done it, doesn't mean it can't be done,” he said.

Davide said it was a good idea and proposed to schedule a separate meeting to talk about the said matter.

Meanwhile, Villarino raised issues on the safety measures in order to secure the transport of inmates from the jail facility to the courts after two ambush incidents resulting in the death of some inmates and their escorts in 2018. (FREEMAN)

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