By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The Navotas City government inaugurated on Monday the two-story Navotas City Jail Extension, which was built to decongest its city jail and improve the living condition of inmates.
Navotas City Jail Warden Ricky Heart Pegalan said the city jail, which was tagged as the country’s most congested jail facility, housed 955 inmates in six dormitories, equivalent to 2,413.16 congestion rate.
The 360-square-meter city jail annex, which has 10 additional dormitories, reduced the congestion rate to only 737.8 percent.
“Although we have decreased the congestion in our city jail, we will continue to strive to give our inmates enough space so they can live with dignity,” said Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco.
Tiangco said there were only 200 inmates when he started his term as city mayor in 2010.
But due to increasing criminal cases and the intensified campaign against illegal drugs, the city jail’s population swelled from just 579 inmates in 2015 to the present 955 inmates, Pegalan said in a presentation.
Tiangco and Pegalan described the living conditions in the present city jail as “depressing” and “deplorable.”
The overcrowdedness could also lead to security threats as well as health issues and violence among the inmates due to limited breathing space, Pegalan added.
The city government spent about P6 million for the renovation of the jail facility, which is located just beside the city hall.
Tiangco, Pegalan, and Vice Mayor Clint Geronimo led the blessing and inauguration of the new jail facility, which was the former city social welfare office.