BJMP: Jail guards disaster-ready

(File photo)

AN OFFICIAL of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Davao Region (BJMP-Davao) said guards manning the jail facilities are equipped with skills and training on disaster risk reduction management considering their crucial role in securing the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) from the panic that might trigger possible commotion.

Jail Inspector Edo Lobenia, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Davao spokesperson and community relations service officer, said there were no PDLs hurt during the series of earthquakes last month, which seriously hit some areas in the province of Davao del Sur.

Earlier this month, Lobenia said Chief BJMP Jail Director Allan Iral along with other officials visited the jail facilities, including Digos City District Jail and Digos City District Jail-Female Dormitory.

During the inspection, they found out that these facilities obtained minor structural damage to the walls as well as to the premier fences but Lobenia said that these are now being repaired.

In the entire region, based on their monitoring, no facility was reported to had incurred cracks or major damage.

Even before a disaster strike, they have initiated several programs for fire incidents, flooding, earthquakes, and other disaster preparedness trainings in coordination with the Civil Defense Office (OCD)-Davao to make sure that all the PDLs are safe inside their facility.

“May mga pinagdaanan din kami na Incident Management System kasama namin ‘yong OCD kasi pagdating sa mga sakuna, especially sa trabaho namin, basically, dapat aware sila. ‘Yong awareness ng ating mga persons deprived of liberty [must be high] para kung mayroong earthquake alam nila ang basic na gagawin,” Lobenia said.

He added, “From time to time, ang BJMP is nag te-train [on disaster preparedness]. Sini-simulate natin ito sa mga jail facilities in the entire Davao Region before pa kahit wala pang earthquake, lagi namin itong ginagawa.”

In the recent earthquakes, he said the jail personnel, together with the assistance of marshals, immediately opened the cells and evacuated the PDLs to safer ground.

At Maa City Jail, the PDLs were evacuated to the court just inside the compound.

“Makikita natin yong lahat ng inmates natin ay in-evacuate doon kasi nag i-expect pa tayo ng mga aftershocks. Hindi naman natin sila pinapasok sa loob ng mga selda. Ito yong mga basic na ginagawa ng BJMP pag may mga ganyang mga incident especially sa earthquake,” Lobenia said.

While he acknowledged that they are undermanned considering the number of facilities that they have and the number of PDLs that they are guarding, it becomes a challenge for them but the custodians were still able to manage the PDLs in the heels of the disaster.

“We are undermanned pero sinisikap namin after may incident ng earthquake, ‘yon ang gagawing protocol na standards. For example, pag magkaroon ng earthquake automatically kasi may mga marshals kaming tinatawag sa mga PDLs. Katulong namin yong mga marshals na magbubukas ng mga selda,” he said.

The durable construction of jail structures also helps that there were no PDLs injured or damaged facilities despite the strong magnitude of the earthquakes. (JCR)


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