‘Aquino for moving Bilibid inmates to Iwahig’ | Inquirer News

‘Aquino for moving Bilibid inmates to Iwahig’

/ 05:21 AM June 06, 2011

As a short term and immediate solution to the problem of overcrowding at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, President Benigno Aquino III is considering the transfer of inmates to the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

“The President sees Iwahig as the most feasible site that could have short-term results. We need only to improve or enhance the perimeter fences or enclosures of Iwahig and put up additional facilities, buildings, structures to house additional inmates,” she told reporters in a recent interview.

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She said the President wanted “immediate steps” taken to address the congestion, which he considers “one of the most severe problems” at the NBP. The prison, according to De Lima, has more than 17,000 inmates, double its intended capacity.

The secretary said the project will start as soon as the executive branch provides funds for the inmates’ transfer.

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Set up by the Americans in 1904, the Iwahig penal complex is located on a 37–hectare property in the southern part of Puerto Princesa. It has farms and orchards irrigated by a river and cultivated by the prisoners.

There are about 4,000 inmates at Iwahig, most of whom are not locked up. Their families are also allowed to live with the prisoners in some settlements.

The prison farm and parks, as well as its American-era buildings, have become a tourist attraction. Visitors can go fishing, firefly–watching and shopping at souvenir shops selling handicraft made by the prisoners. Jerome Aning

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Leila de Lima, New Bilibid Prison, transfer of prisoners
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