BuCor chief refuses to disclose names of inmates who died of COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Citing the Data Privacy Act, Bureau of Corrections director-general Gerald Bantag has refused to disclose to the public the names of inmates or persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who died in BuCor facilities due to the coronavirus disease 2019.
Bantag said this after sources revealed that Jaybee Sebastian, a key witness in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), and eight other high-profile inmates at the same penitentiary have died of COVID-19.
“Indeed there are PDL who died due to COVID-19. However, as much as we want to inform the public with respect to the names of PDL who died due to COVID-19, the data privacy act prohibits us from doing so,” he said in a text message Sunday.
Bantag also assured that the BuCor is doing its best to address the COVID-19 situation in its facilities.
“In fact, we have a high rate of recovery and we are glad to report to the public that all our interventions appear to be doing well and effective,” said the bureau director.
According to Bantag, BuCor has been conducting “quick” identification of suspected cases as well as isolation and treatment programs to address the cases of infection in its jails.
He said the bureau had likewise partnered with other government agencies, international organizations, and non-government organizations to strengthen its drive in addressing the outbreak.
The eight other inmates who reportedly died of COVID-19 were among the 66 occupants of Building 14, the most secured facility within NBP’s Maximum Security Compound and houses high-profile inmates, mostly convicted drug dealers.
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