By Jonathan Hicap
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said that as of April 14, it is still coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19)-free with no prisoners or staff infected with the virus.
Prisoners at BuCor's Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro undergo medical check-up and receive medicine as part of precautionary measures against COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Sablayan PIO via Jonathan Hicap / MANILA BULLETIN)
BuCor supervises the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa, Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong, prison and penal farms in San Ramon in Zamboanga City, Davao, Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and Leyte Regional Prison.
In his latest report to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, President Rodrigo Duterte said that as of April 7, there are 74 prisoners and 80 BuCor personnel who are persons under monitoring (PUMs), and two prisoners and one staff who are persons under investigation (PUIs).
BuCor spokesperson Gabriele Chaclag told Manila Bulletin that the PUMs and PUIs are doing okay.
“Okay naman sila so far. Basta kasi meron flu-like symptoms ay quarantined sila agad (They are okay so far. If they have flu-like symptoms, they are quarantined immediately). Whether staff or PDLs. We have wide isolation areas and the number is BuCor-wide. There are more staff than PDLs who are quarantined since we strictly enforce protocols especially those who exhibit symptoms,” he said.
BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag has enforced stringent measures to prevent the entry of the virus in prison facilities.
One of these is to place all patients with ailments like tuberculosis, heart and kidney diseases, diabetes, and urinary tract infection who don’t require admission at observation areas, instead of being sent back to their prison cells. These prisoners will be under quarantine for 14 days as a practical approach to disease control and management, the BuCor said.
Earlier, the BuCor barred visits to prisoners, and restricted the entry of people and vehicles to the NBP reservation area.