The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has started negotiations with officials of Isabela for the setting up of a prison facility in the province to decongest existing detention centers in Luzon.
In a statement, BuCor said that its officials had met with Isabela Gov. Rodolfo T. Albano III last June 8 on the setting up of a facility that can accommodate 4,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in north Luzon provinces.
In Luzon, BuCor’s detention facilities are the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, and the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro.
The three other facilities are the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City, Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog, Leyte, and Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Panabo, Davao Oriental.
The government has admitted that the seven prison facilities managed and operated by BuCor are already congested. The congestion has posed a serious risk on the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19). BuCor has adopted measures to contain the risk.
BuCor said its negotiations with the officials of Isabela “serves as a firm action and commitment to decongest existing penal institution and accommodate the increasing number of PDLs committed to the agency,” BuCor said.
“Soon, those convicted PDL will no longer be brought to NBP Muntinlupa for service of sentence, but will remain in the regional facility to have proximate access to the outside society for securing support from family and community while serving sentence and assuring acceptance from them upon release from incarceration,” it said.
It said that prior to the meeting with Isabela officials, the bureau sent letter requests to the Regional Development Council (RDC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in line with the regionalization policy under Republic Act No. 10575, the BuCor Act of 2013.
“The good governor of Isabela Province responded immediately and requested for a meeting with BuCor to discuss about the plan to establish a BuCor Facility which can house 4,000 PDL in the region,” it said.
Immediately, it said, BuCor Director General Gerald Q. Bantag formed a group that was sent to Isabela to hold the talks.
The group was led by BuCor Deputy Director General Gabriel P. Chaclag. The other members were Corrections TCSupt. John Paul O. Santos, director of the Directorate for Administration; Corrections CInsp. Pablito A. Jacinto, chief of the Asset Management Division; and Corrections Insp. Catherine D. Capanang, chief of Support Services Division.