Remember to vaccinate persons deprived of liberty – bishop

Published December 3, 2021, 12:08 PM

by Christina Hermoso

Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines- Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care called on the government “to remember to vaccinate persons deprived of liberty or those living in prisons.”

Bishop Joel Baylon (Manila Bulletin photo)

“Protecting the incarcerated people from Covid-19 is equally important with the other sectors of society. They must be guaranteed protection and safety from the Covid-19 virus, like the rest of the country,” Baylon said in a CBCP News post.

The Church leader said, around 91 percent of persons deprived of liberty in detention centers under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are now vaccinated. The Bureau of Corrections has also started the inoculation of PDLs under their watch, he said.

The government conducted the first phase of “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” on Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 with a target of vaccinating around 9 million Filipinos against COVID-19. Plans are underway for a second round on December 15 to 17 as the government targets to vaccinate around 54 million Filipinos by year end down from the original target of 77 million, which is 70 percent of the country’s population.

“We hope and pray that these urgent and necessary responses on behalf of our brothers and sisters in the various detention facilities all over the country – including the centers for children in conflict with the law – will guarantee that they will not be left behind or taken for granted,” Baylon stressed.

Records show that there are more than 48,000 convicted inmates in BuCor facilities. There are also about 117,000 PDLs, who are still facing trial, are detained in various district, city, and municipal jails under the BJMP.