At least 4,188 PDLs released to decongest jails amid COVID-19 threats
MANILA, Philippines — At least 4,188 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) have been released from jails in a bid to decongest detention facilities nationwide amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), President Duterte reported Monday.
In his seventh report to Congress on the use of his additional powers to address the health crisis, Duterte said the PDLs were released through the paralegal assistance extended by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) from March 17 to April 30.
“Further, as of 6 May 2020, a total of 129 PDLs have been released from jail pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 38-2020,” Duterte noted in his report.
The Bureau of Pardons and Parole (BPP), meanwhile, has already started processing applications for executive clemency.
The President said the Department of Justice (DOJ) has “directed officials and personnel of the BPP to meet and convene electronically through video conferencing to ensure a quick yet full review of said applications.”
The DOJ has also directed the Parole and Probation Administration and the Bureau of Corrections to closely coordinate with the BPP to ensure the timely preparation and transmittal of the carpetas and prison records of PDLs.
Further, 222 of the 469 BJMP jails nationwide have already established isolation areas for newly committed PDLs and those suspected of having COVID-19, while two quarantine facilities—one in the New Bilibid Prisons and the other in the Correctional Institute for Women—have been set up.
For its part, BuCor hired two doctors and 17 nurses to assist in the efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in its correctional facilities, Duterte said.
The Bureau is also implementing e-dalaw or online visits where PDLs will be allowed to communicate with their relatives and lawyers via video or teleconferencing.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier announced it would conduct “targeted” COVID-19 testing in select jail facilities amid the increase in the number of coronavirus infection in various jails nationwide.
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