By Jonathan Hicap
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in Muntinlupa has suspended visitation privileges for one week for all prisoners due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
The BuCor said the temporary measure will start on March 11 and will cover the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa and all prison and penal farms in the provinces.
“In light of the announcement of Department of Health (DOH) raising Philippines as Code Red Alert Sublevel 1 and President Duterte’s declaration of Public Health Emergency over COVID-19, the Bureau of Corrections strictly implements its safety protocols in ensuring the welfare of its stakeholders and hereby suspending all visitation privileges for one week starting Wednesday, 11 March 2020 in New Bilibid Prison and all its operating prison and penal farms,” the BuCor Public Information Office said.
It added that “Code Red Sublevel 1 is a preventive call to alert all public and private healthcare providers’ readiness if a sudden increase in cases is reported, similar to what happened in Italy and other countries in Asia.” The Philippines has 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, according to the DOH.
As of January, 2020, there are 49,114 prisoners under BuCor, including 28,885, or 59 percent, at the NBP.