QC requires COVID-19 testing for PDLs before detention facility commitment
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has required persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) to be tested first for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) before they are committed to a detention facility.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte issued this directive through Executive Order No. 30 following the rise in COVID-19 cases inside detention facilities operated by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Quezon City Police District.
As of April 28, a total of 195 PDLs across the country have contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We have installed guidelines that will be observed when the court orders the commitment of a PDL to a detention facility managed by the BJMP,” Belmonte said in a statement on Sunday.
“The guidelines will likewise cover those arrested by authorities before they are detained in a police precinct or facility,” she added.
Under Belmonte’s executive order, the BJMP is mandated to coordinate with the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) to arrange for the PDL’s COVID-19 testing once a court issues the commitment of a PDL into the Quezon City Jail (QCJ).
The PDL will undergo testing in a separate quarantine facility, where they will stay while waiting for the result of the COVID-19 test.
The PDL will then be transferred to the QCJ if the test yields a negative result.
Should the test turn out positive, the PDL will remain in the quarantine facility for treatment or moved to another facility as determined by the QCHD.
“If the PDL is found positive for COVID-19, the PDL shall be placed in a quarantine facility designated by the QCPD and City Health for isolation and treatment,” Belmonte said in her order, adding PDLs will only be moved to a regular detention facility if cleared of infection.
For arrested PDLs, the mayor said they will have to undergo a mandatory medical exam.
If they require COVID-19 testing, the QCPD shall notify the QCHD immediately, she added.
Before a PDL is released from the QCJ or any QCPD-run detention facility, they will also undergo a medical examination to determine whether COVID-19 testing is necessary.
In her order, Belmonte also encouraged the BJMP and QCPD to conduct regular health monitoring of PDLs in their custody and immediately notify the QCHD if any detainee exhibit COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, body aches and dry cough.
To date, Philippine health officials have so far confirmed 9,223 COVID-19 cases in the country.
Of the number, 1,214 have recovered while 607 have died.
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