BuCor justifies strip search of visitors in jail facilities

The increasing number of visitors caught sneaking illegal drugs and other contrabands hidden in their private parts and underwear justifies the conduct of strip searches, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. on Tuesday, May 7.

Catapang said that  30 visitors of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) have been caught since October last year attempting to sneak in contrabands hidden in their private parts and in their underwear.

“We have to be strict, without fear or favor in the implementation of strip search, otherwise we will negate in our responsibility of protecting our PDLs and if we exempt an individual, we might be accused of giving VIP treatment,” Catapang declared. 

He respondent to the complaints aired by wives of PDLs after having experienced undergoing strip search during their recent visit to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

To avoid strip searched, Catapang said that BuCor needs fully body scanners.

“This is the reason why last year we appealed to Congress for additional budget to be able for us to buy full body scanner machines just like those being used in our airports. With this, it can detect objects even those inside a person's body for security screening purposes, without physically removing the person clothes or making any physical contact,” he said.

“Medyo may kamahalan yung machine (The machine is rather expensive), but it is needed to ensure security in prison facilities. The machine costs between P20 to P25 million each and initially the BuCor needs at least five units,” he added.

He also expressed BuCor's support to House Bill (HB) No. 9153 or the proposed "Contraband Detection and Control System Act" which aims to prevent the proliferation of contraband in prison facilities.

Auuthored by Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, Catapang explained that the proposed measure provides for the establishment and implementation of Contraband Detection and Control System (CDCS) through the use of modern technologies in correctional, custodial, or detention facilities nationwide.