By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has denied allegations that there is a “humanitarian crisis” and a lockdown at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Maximum Security Compound.
“Not true po as a matter of fact may dialogue tayo na isinagawa with the dalaw representatives,” Maj. Wena Dalagan, BuCor spokesperson, told The Manila Bulletin.
Citing information from the BuCor, the Department of Justice (DOJ), an agency where the BuCor is attached to, also reportedly denied allegations that there was a security lockdown at the Maximum Security Compound.
“As to the lockdown, this is also not true,” the BuCor said, “What is true is that BuCor suspended privilege of visitation but for safety reasons since they are conducting demolitions.”
However, the justice department assured that the BuCor would “soon lift the suspension and they are in fact preparing for the improved system to be used when they re-allow visitations.”
In a press conference on Friday, members of KAPATID – Families and Friends of Political Prisoners called on the BuCor to “prove that there is no humanitarian crisis,” “to lift the lockdown” at the penitentiary and to allow them “to restore their right to visit ailing relatives.”
The group also said that the BuCor “cannot simply dismiss the alarm raised by the families of prisoners because of news reports of deaths due to dehydration, lack of electricity, health care services, and…food and clean drinking water.”
At least seven inmates reportedly died inside the NBP in a span of four days in early October because of these deprivations.
However, the BuCor reportedly said that “the reports are exaggerated.”
“There were inmates who died but not really because of dehydration of lack of medical attention,” the agency said.
“[Dir. Gen.] Bantag already verified with the hospital and the doctors denied it. In fact, they have lots of supplies available including dextrose and meds,” it added.