BuCor asks DepEd to use Bilibid school as quarantine area

Published April 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jonathan Hicap

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has asked the Department of Education (DepEd) in Muntinlupa to use a public elementary school as a quarantine area for the use of its personnel.

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in Muntinlupa. (Photo courtesy of BuCor /via Jonathan Hicap)
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in Muntinlupa. (Photo courtesy of BuCor /via Jonathan Hicap)

Victor Erick Pascua, officer-in-charge of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Medium Security Compound, wrote a letter on April 27 to Dr. Dominico Idanan, Muntinlupa schools division superintendent, thru Itaas Elementary School principal Raul Felix, about the matter.

“We all know that our humanity now is facing a crisis due to COVID-19 virus. This time everybody needs support and help to stop the virus from spreading out. In connection with this, may I respectfully request your good office to please allow the Medium Security Compound personnel to utilize your facility as a quarantine area during the Enhance Community Quarantine period,” Pascua said in his letter.

Itaas Elementary School is located inside the NBP reservation and serves thousands of students every year.

In his reply, Idanan told Pascua that there are rules and guidelines before the request is processed. He cited the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Memorandum Circular 2020-062 dated March 21 this year, which mandates that “LGUs shall not use Department of Education (DepEd) schools as quarantine or isolation areas unless explicitly allowed by the DepEd and strictly following the guidelines itself.”

Idanan also said the DepEd has issued an office memorandum on guidelines regarding requests by LGUs to use DepEd schools as quarantine or isolation areas for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The DepEd memo states that “the LGU must state in its request the specific intended purpose or use for the school, and identify the particular facility in the school that will be used as well as the duration of their use, subject to extension, if necessary.”

It also requires that “the LGU must show that all other facilities have been duly assessed and were found to be inadequate. Schools can be recommended only when no other facilities are available” and it “must present an assessment by the municipal, city, or provincial health officer that the facility within the school is suitable for the specific intended purpose.”

In addition, “the LGU must present the planned management of the facility, which shall be under the supervision of the City/Municipal Health Officer, as stated in DOH Department Memorandum No. 2020-0123, and must conform to existing DOH standards and guidelines, including, but not limited to, patient management, safety standards within the facility and immediate community, waste management/disposal, and other similar/related health requirements.”

There should also be an agreement for the safekeeping of property and valuables in school premises, payment of utilities, cleaning and fumigation, and repair and replacement of damaged school facilities. “In view of the foregoing, you are advised to comply with the requirements before this Office endorses your request to the DepEd-NCR Director for further action,” Idanan advised Pascua.

To date, there are 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the NBP medium security camp quarantine area who are all prisoners from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong. One BuCor staff member at CIW was also diagnosed with the virus.

Three inmates—two from CIW and one from NBP—have died of COVID-19 in various hospitals.