By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP ECPPC) on Thursday asked the Bureau of Corrections to think of another way of addressing the problem of the entry of contraband in national penitentiaries saying suspending the privileges of prisoners will not solve it.
“There must be another way,” Bishop Joel Baylon, CBCP ECPPC head said.
“One can only wonder why illegal drugs continue to find themselves inside prison cells when there’s supposed to be a thorough search of visitors during visiting hours. Is there a problem with the system? Or are they looking for illegal drugs at the wrong places?” asked the prelate.
BuCor chief Director General Nicanor Faeldon had suspended the privileges, including visitations and recreational activities of over 45,000 inmates nationwide.
The order comes amid the alleged continuing entry of various contraband items into penal institutions, especially the New Bilibid Prison.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of ECPPC said: “Punishment has not worked and never will… That is not the solution, rather an illusion,” he said.
“The government should use its intelligence fund to find out and capture those behind the entry of the contraband,” Diamante added.
Baylon also believes that the suspension further deprives prisoners of their rights.
“I feel sorry for the inmates who are further deprived of what little rights remain for them: the opportunity to be visited by their loved ones,” he said.
“I believe suspending visiting hours of inmates is not the solution,” added Baylon.