Bilibid operations focus on illegal drugs

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    THE Bureau of Correction has completed the clearing and demolition of illegal structures, including shanties used by inmates, inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

    BuCor spokesperson lawyer Wena Fe Dalagan said the bureau’s leadership will now focus on getting rid of illegal drugs and other illicit items inside the national penitentiary.

    “We ended it (demolition) last Wednesday. We are now focused on the Greyhound operation and also on attending the medical needs of persons deprived of liberty and the returnees,” Dalagan said.

    Operation Greyhound is the code word for the operation targeting illegal drugs, weapons and other prohibited items stashed by inmates.

    Dalagan said authorities did not demolish structures that were used by inmates for reformation activities though these were not part of the original NBP structure.

    ‘We spared some of the buildings that are being used for reformation activities like the disciplinary office although (these were) not included in the original structure of the NBP maximum security compound. We made sure that these were not occupied by inmates,’ Dalagan said.

    The BuCor, assisted by a contingent of some 500 auxiliary cops from the National Capital Region Police Office, demolished shanties and other unauthorized structures put up by inmates especially in the maximum security compound which were suspected of being used as transaction spots for illegal activities.

    The demolition was ordered by BuCor chief Director General Gerald Bantag to jumpstart reforms that he promised to carry out in the national penitentiary following revelations at a Senate hearing that prostitution, gambling and illegal drugs trading, among others, were being carried out inside detention cells in connivance with corrupt prison guards and officials.

    NCRPO district director Brig. General Debold Sinas has earlier said 58 huts were destroyed in quadrant 1 of the maximum security compound, 32 in quadrant 2, 36 in quadrant 3, and 39 in quadrant 4. He said 19 stalls and a make shift office built at the sides were also destroyed.

    Police have also recovered several items during the demolition, including a total of P233,207 cash, four pocket Wifis, three USB sticks, two phone chargers, three headsets, 13 wrist watches, and 35 bladed weapons.

    Sinas said the USB sticks have been sent to the Anti-Cyber Group for forensics examination.

    The NBP was opened in 1940 and was originally meant to house 10, 072 inmates. At present, 14, 500 inmates are detained at the NBP’s maximum security compound alone.

    The NBP has a total inmate population of 27, 071.

    The DOJ had admitted there is an overcapacity of 170 percent in the NBP alone, while the overcapacity rate nationwide was placed at 30 percent.

    Aside from the NBP, the BuCor also operates and supervises the Abuyog Penal Colony in Leyte, Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City and the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.