CHR lauds BuCor’s ramped-up vaccination of PDLs in 7 prison facilities nationwide


The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday, Oct. 29, commended the ramped-up COVID-19 vaccinations of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in prison facilities managed by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

In a statement, CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia also welcomed BuCor’s assurance of vaccination of all PDLs.

“Let us remember in celebration of this year’s National Correctional Consciousness Week the dignity of the offender as the basis for the citizenry to extend support, humane understanding, and sympathy to PDLs for their successful reintegration into society,” De Guia, a lawyer, said.

Every year since 1995, last week of October is celebrated as National Correctional Consciousness Week under Proclamation No. 551.

Last Oct. 26, BuCor said that a total of 8,800 PDLs at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City has received their first dose of vaccines against COVID-19.

Aside from the NBP, BuCor said that as of Oct. 18, inmates who have been vaccinated included 3,100 from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, 214 from the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm (SRPPF) in Zamboanga City, and 60 from the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF).

There were also 588 BuCor personnel who have been vaccinated, it said.

BuCor Director General Geraldo Q. Bantag had assured the bureau will beef up efforts to get all PDLs and personnel in its seven prison facilities vaccinated against COVID.

“We remain hopeful in the continuing weeks that more local government units will include elderly PDLs, especially those with comorbidities, in their vaccination priority list,” De Guia said.

She said the low COVID-19 case rates amidst increasing vaccination rates of PDLs and correctional officers is a “clear indication of the benefits of vaccination and positive movement towards the goal of zero Covid-19 cases amongst the prison population.”

Citing the Nelson Mandela Rules (the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners), De Guia said the CHR reiterated that “all PDLs must enjoy health care with similar standards to those available in the community and should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge and without discrimination.”

She noted that the CHR has been calling attention to the conditions of jails and detention facilities in the country as overcrowded prison conditions increase the risk of disease transmission.

There are more than 48,500 PDLs in BuCor’s seven prison facilities in the country.

De Guia said the CHR has been fulfilling its mandate to visit jails and detention facilities to help ensure government compliance to the humane treatment of the accused and incarcerated as also reflected in the Nelson Mandela Rules.