The Daily Manila Shimbun


Jails heavily overcrowded since war on drugs began: BJMP

March 30, 2017

Jails nationwide are literally bursting at the seams since the Duterte administration began its war against drugs in July 2016.

The average congestion rate is about 555 percent as of February, said Chief Superintendent Allan Iral, deputy chief for operations of the BJMP.

Iral said about 25,000 inmates were jailed. Around 53,025 suspected pushers and users were arrested and nearly 1.2 million have surrendered, data showed.

"Our target is just around 110,000 prisoners. Now we are at approximately 135,000," Iral told reporters in an ambush interview

BJMP data showed there are 134,966 prisoners inside 466 of its jails nationwide, above its capacity of  25,000. This excludes 40,000 prisoners in different provincial jails and 50,000 from detention facilities of the Bureau of Corrections, said Iral.

About 80 percent of inmates in urban areas are detained on drug charges while the rest are facing other cases, such as murder, rape, homicide, robbery and other petty crimes.

Among the overcrowded jails is Binan City Jail in Laguna which has 602 prisoners, way above its capacity of 22 detainees.

Thus 11,752 officers and personnel of the BJMP are overwhelmed, said Iral.

The BJMP is boosting its paralegal system through an interactive offline learning platform containing basic legal modules and resources.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, in a statement, said this platform would help more than 400 BJMP jail paralegal officers nationwide.

It said this will help jail officers monitor cases of detainees being tried and coordinate with criminal justice stakeholders which include public attorneys, law enforcement, court staff and judges, among others.

The system was tested in 15 BJMP jails in Central Luzon and Calabarzon. It will be available in all detention facilities in April.

Iral said building more detention facilities would help. With a budget of P1.7 billion, they hope to construct additional jails but Iral said few local chief executives are willing to donate lots for this. DMS