The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has commended the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for the preparations to allow physical visitation of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in its jail facilities which are located in areas with minimal COVID-19 cases.
In a statement, the CHR – through Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia – said the BJMP’s move is in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners — allowing prisoners to have contacts or visitations subject to necessary supervision.
Such gesture of the BJMP, De Guia stressed, is a welcome action in the humane treatment of prisoners during the holidays.
“Providing PDLs the opportunity to see their loved ones, with due compliance to health protocols and safety measures, is beneficial to their mental health and general well-being,” she noted.
“The resumption of physical visits and the continued use of the e-Dalaw system are laudable actions of the BJMP in ensuring that persons deprived of liberty are not deprived of the essential need for human connection and communication,” she added.
The CHR noted that there are now some BJMP facilities in Cebu, Cordillera, and Metro Manila that have already begun the pilot run for the non-contact visitation.
De Guia said that other jail facilities await the approval of their respective regional directors pending the completion of facility requirements.
She expressed optimism that this humane policy will be implemented sooner in more low-risk areas to allow PDLs and their families to have a meaningful holiday season.
The Department of Health (DOH) had recorded significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country following the massive vaccination campaign of the government.