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Jails congested over Covid safety protocols

Another cause of congestion is the slow issuance of commitment orders to transfer suspects to the main jail at a local government unit

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Health protocols issued by the Inter-Agency task Force to safeguard the spread of the coronavirus disease in detention facilities have resulted in the congestion of temporary jails in Metro Manila.

P/Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco, Manila Police District (MPD)director, said the additional process of subjecting suspects to RT-PCR tests and keeping them in quarantine before transferring them to a regular jail cell takes at least five extra days.

However, he stressed the process has ensured all detainees in police stations are Covid-free and have undergone rigid testing.

Francisco noted another cause of congestion is the slow issuance of commitment orders to transfer suspects to the main jail at a local government unit.

The Manila City Jail is a huge facility run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to house suspects while they undergo court hearings.

“The problem is the BJMP only admits 25 heads per month, and police were given only a one-day schedule when they should have worked out all commitment orders issued by the judge. That is sometimes our problem with our 14 MPD police stations. The small number is not workable as the number of felons grows every day than the allowable number the BJMP had allotted to MPD,” Francisco explained.

He suggested that all agencies concerned in order to address jail congestion, namely the Philippine National Police, BJMP, Supreme Court and Department of Justice should discuss a workable solution to decongest MPD jails.

Meanwhile, Francisco announced the number of vaccinated MPD members have reached 96.4 percent, reason for the public to be assured that those protecting them are free from Covid-19.
He thanked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso for accommodating their vaccine requirements.

Of those not yet vaccinated, the MPD chief said less than 200 personnel have yet to avail of their shots.

He said most of them have lingering illnesses and their doctors have not allowed them to receive their shot, while others are still waiting for the vaccine brand of their choice.

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