THE Bacolod City Council approved on third and final reading an ordinance requiring persons deprived of liberty (PDL) to undergo coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing before commitment to jails within the locality’s jurisdiction.

Ordinance author Councilor Al Victor Espino, who is the chairperson of the City Council committee on police matters, said that prisons and jails produce or reinforce a host of problems which are hygiene-related and even infectious diseases.

It is the reason why there is a need for mandatory testing of PDLs against Covid-19 to ensure the health and safety of the city residents, Espino said.

He said that PDLs should also undergo Covid-19 screening before they are released from these facilities.

Espino added that the Covid-19 testing, which will be conducted by the City Health Office, will be in addition to the medical examination requirement by the City Police Station before the PDLs are turned-over to jail facilities.

While the PDL is waiting for his/her Covid-19 test result, he/she shall be detained at the detention facility designated by the police station, the councilor stressed.

Under the ordinance, a PDL found positive for the Covid-19 shall be placed in the designated quarantine facility inside the city jail for isolation and treatment.

“Only when he/she is cleared by the city's health office should he/she be permitted to be committed and enter the designated detention cells for PDL who have tested negative for Covid-19,” the ordinance stressed.