DILG to BJMP: Conduct regular, unannounced jail inspections

By , on March 13, 2016

New Bilibid Prison (Monzonda / Wikipedia)
New Bilibid Prison (Monzonda / Wikipedia)

MANILA—Following President Benigno S. Aquino III’s directive for an intensified crackdown on illegal drugs in jails, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to conduct more frequent and unannounced inspections in city, district, provincial and municipal jails nationwide.

“Illegal drugs should not be a problem in jails. This is why we need to implement stricter regulations which include strict, regular and unannounced inspections in these facilities,” said DILG Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento said in Filipino.

Earlier, the President said the BJMP should step up measures to get rid of contraband in prisons after raising concerns on the smuggling of these illegal items into jails.

Records showed that from July 2010 to December 2015 alone, the jail bureau has caught 7,237 inmates and visitors bringing contraband and seized 48,699 deadly weapons, more than 1,100 grams of shabu and marijuana and 4,900 drug paraphernalia.

Of the 20,000 inmates in Metro Manila, 80 percent are involved in drug-related cases, according to BJMP – National Capital Region Director Chief Supt. Michael Vidamo.

Vidamo said inmates usually transact their illegal activities using cellphones while inside the jails to communicate with their cohorts outside the premises.

Last week, inmates of the Makati City Jail destroyed their bunk beds and conducted a noise barrage to protest the conduct of ‘Oplan Greyhound’.

Under ‘Oplan Greyhound’, jail personnel search jail cells for contraband such as illegal drugs, mobile phones, weapons and other contrabands.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the DILG are in the process of conducting parallel investigation on the incident. They are also looking on the possible use of excessive force by jail guards on the inmates who staged the noise barrage.