Jails in Davao still Covid-19-free

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SINCE the Covid-19 pandemic hit Davao Region in March, all jail facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in the entire region remain free from coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

BJMP spokesperson Edo Lobenia said in a virtual presser on Wednesday, September 30, that none of its jail personnel and persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) contracted the Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, as stringent precautionary measures were implemented in all of its facilities.

Lobenia said they made sure to adhere to the protocols set by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Regional Covid-19 Task Force as prison cells are highly vulnerable in the Covid-19 transmission.

"Ang ating jail facilities ay hindi katulad ng ibang facilities sa ibang bansa sapagkat congested masyado yung ating pasilidad, at sa gayon maiwasan natin ang kontaminasyon sa loob ng ating pasilidad (Our jail facilities are unlike other countries because it is already congested, that's why we need to impose measures to prevent the spread of the virus within our facilities)," he said during the One Davao on Covid-19 virtual presser.

Among the measures that they imposed is the mandatory quarantine of inmates who will be transferred from the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the BJMP jail facilities.

"Kailangan ang mga inmate under the custody of PNP should undergo quarantine. (We are requiring those inmates under the custody of PNP to undergo quarantine.) These are well coordinated with the precinct commanders sa buong Davao Region before i-commit sa ating mga pasilidad (in Davao Region before we put them in our facilities)," he said.

Due to the lack of jail personnel manning the facilities, they had to render more time in their duties.

"Nagpapasalamat din naman kami sa kanilang pag-intindi para magkaroon tayo ng mas maayos at matiwasay na piitan (We are thankful for their understanding because there is a need to ensure order within our facilities)," Lobenia said.

Since March, BJMP-Davao has already banned visitors and strictly enforced precautionary measures in different jail facilities.

Lobenia said they installed a screening area for their guests and their personnel on duty. None of their personnel, during the hard lockdown, were allowed to return to their respective homes, fearing that they might acquire Covid-19 and become a carrier.

Meanwhile, the Davao City Government issued an Executive Order (EO) 37 in June this year, wherein the city will be establishing a mechanism to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in jails and rehabilitation centers in the city.

According to the EO, the City Government prohibits the admission of Covid-19 positive PDL or children in conflict with the law to the BJMP, the City Government-run rehabilitation centers-the Davao City Treatment and Rehabilitation, Bahay Pag-asa, Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth, Balay Sidlakan, and the Group Home for Girls.

Before the admission of the PDLs or CICLs, a certification from the Department of Health or City Health Office that they are Covid-free must be required.


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