OVER 15,000 inmates or persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) have been released from facilities under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology as part of government efforts to decongest the jails amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Interior and Local Government, which has jurisdiction over the BJMP, said majority of the PDLs released from March 17 to June 22 are elderly and have committed light or bailable offenses.
The DILG said of the 15,322 PDLs released, 5,910 are from National Capital Region, 1,557 from the Calabarzon region, 1,487 from Central Visayas region, 1,041 from Central Luzon, 897 Zamboanga Peninsula, and 762 from Northern Mindanao. The rest are from the other regions.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the release of the thousands of PDLs is a proof that they are not forgotten and not neglected.
Año made the statement in the wake of allegations made by leftist organizations that the Duterte administration is not doing anything to decongest jails.
The DILG said 783 PDLs have been infected with COVID-19 inside jails throughout the country, of which 549 have recovered. Also, it said 135 jail personnel were also infected, 90 of them already recovered.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the inmates were released based on new guidelines of the Supreme Court to decongest the jails.
A support and advocacy group composed of relatives and friends of political detainees reiterated their appeal to the Supreme Court to resolve their petition seeking the release of sick and elderly detainees vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
One of the political detainees who signed the petition last April, Reina Mae Asis Nasino, gave birth to a baby girl Wednesday at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila with jail guards accompanying her. – With Ashzel Hachero