Congested jails huge stumbling block in fight vs COVID-19- BJMP spox

Published December 8, 2021, 1:29 PM

by Chito Chavez

The high congestion rate in the jail facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) remains a Herculean challenge in containing the transmission of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) not only among the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) but also among the personnel, the bureau’s spokesperson said on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

With the crowded jails, BJMP spokesperson Chief Insp. Xavier Solda said they have already screened the incoming inmates before hand to check if they are positive for the virus as some exhibited no symptoms from the ailment.

In case a PDL is tested COVID-19 positive, Solda emphasized that the inmate will immediately be brought to the BJMP’s isolation facilities to recuperate.

On the upside, Solda in an interview over ABS-CBN pointed out that the general jail population in the BJMP manned jail facilities has decreased during the pandemic.

“In fact nung nakaraan taon ho nasa 418 percent ang congestion rate natin at pumalo pa ho yan sa 456 percent pero ngayon taon ho nasa mga 408 percent na lang ang congestion rate natin. So isa po sa mga tinitingnan natin na factor. Eh bumaba ho talaga ng nacocommit sa jail facilities po natin (last year we had a congestion rate of 418 percent that even reached 456 percent. But this year our congestion rate is down to 408 percent. So this is one of the factors that we are looking at. The number of the inmates committed in our jail facilities decreased),’’ Solda said.

Aside from the strict observance of the health protocols, Solda pointed out that the vaccination of the PDLs against the COVID-19 is crucial to minimize the chances of the inmates from getting seriously infected by the virus.

“Doon po sa mga PDLs natin talagang pinagsumikapan po ng BJMP na mapabakunahan sila. In fact 119,476 out of 125,589 na mga PDLs natin or 95.13 percent ay bakunado na po (In our PDLs the BJMP is trying its best to inoculate them. In fact 119,476 out of 125,589 of our PDLs or 95.13 percent are already vaccinated),’’ he added.

For those unvaccinated PDLs, Solda assured that the BJMP is keen on having them vaccinated as schedules are already in place for the dates of their inoculation which were coordinated with the local health units and BJMP regional health service.

So far, Solda noted that not a single PDL refused to be vaccinated nor had rejected the inoculation of the available vaccine with preference to another particular brand.

“So far nagpapasalamat po ang BJMP at wala namang PDL na ayaw magpabakuna. In fact nagpapasalamat sila at nararamdaman nila na mahalaga sila sa BJMP kaya kinukunsidera natin at ipinila po talaga natin para sa bakunahan (The BJMP is thankful that no PDL refused to be vaccinated. In fact they are thankful and feel that the BJMP gives them importance),’’ Solda said. (Chito A. Chavez)