Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Monday, Aug. 30, urged officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to find ways to secure vaccines for their inmates.
Guevarra aired the appeal after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) raised the need to get have more persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
He said that prison facilities nationwide have relied on the local government units (LGUs) in getting PDLs vaccinated and, because of this, “BUCOR and BJMP authorities are duty-bound to make proper coordination with local health officers in the places where jails and prisons are located.”
“If the LGUs concerned cannot provide enough for them, then the BuCor and the BJMP should seek their own independent sources,” he said.
“In the end, it’s only more vaccine supplies that can address all these competing demands” because “LGU officials naturally tend to prioritize their own constituents.”
He reminded that “PDLs are human beings entitled to humane treatment too, particularly those aging and suffering from comorbidities.”
“For sure PDLs who are aging and suffering from co-morbidities are covered by existing priorities,” he noted.
He pointed out that the “DOJ has batted for their inclusion in priority 4 if only for the reason that their space limitation makes them more vulnerable to community transmission of the disease.”
“We hope that with the arrival of more vaccines in the coming days, sufficient quantities could be set aside for PDLs at risk,” he added.