Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Tuesday, April 13, assured that he will push for the inclusion of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in the priority list of persons for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations due to congestions in jails and other detention facilities.
“As of now, hindi pa kasama sa priority list ang PDLs (PDLs are not yet included in the priority list),” Guevarra said.
But he said the Department of Justice (DOJ) “will argue on the basis of greater COVID risks due to overcrowding.”
He assured that he will raise the issue on PDLs’ vaccinations during this week’s meeting of the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF).
He said the DOJ will seek the inclusion in the priority list of vaccinees not only the PDLs of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) but also detainees under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
The BuCor is an agency under the DOJ, while, the BJMP is attached to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Last month, Kapatid — the support group of political prisoners — appealed to the government to include PLDs in its list of priority groups who should get vaccinated.
Kapatid said the country has “the highest jail congestion rate in the world” and considered “a death trap” due to the spread of the virus.