BuCor sends 500 inmates from Muntinlupa to Iwahig penal farm
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — Some 500 inmates, the first batch of around 2,500 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), that will be transferred from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City to the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) arrived on Wednesday night, June 28, in this city aboard a commercial vessel.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Pio Catapang, who oversaw the transport of the PDLs, said the move is part of the decongestion program of the bureau, a five-year program to eventually shut down the NBP and send PDLs to different penal farms across the country.
“From this year up to 2028, hopefully we will be able to bring out everybody at the New Bilibid (Prison) because Muntinlupa has become more of a commercial facility than a prison facility,” Catapang told the media in a press briefing during the arrival of the PDLs.
“At the same time, this is in line with [the] bureau’s regionalization process where a PDL will be sent by the government to a facility of his origin,” he added.
Catapang further explained that the move is part of President Bongbong Marcos’ Philippine Development Plan, where he wants to fix all prison facilities for faster reformation of PDLs.
IPPF superintendent C/CInsp. Gary Garcia said at the same media briefing that the 450 male PDLS would be distributed to IPPF’s sub-colonies in Inagawan, Iwahig, and Montible, while the 50 females would be housed in the newly converted Correctional Institution for Women (CIW), formerly the Sta. Lucia Sub-colony.
“We have moved the PDLs housed at the former Sta. Lucia Sub-colony to Montible and it will now be called the Correctional Institution for Women-Sta. Lucia,” Garcia said.
Catapang also explained that after a recent meeting with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, BuCor would close the CIW in Mandaluyong City as the facility was already congested and that the city had become a commercial district.
With the arrival of 2,500 PDLs, the prison facility would also need additional manpower of at least 300, he added.
Catapang added that they would push through with the plan to reimplement the Barrio Libertad program in Iwahig.
“We just need to flatten some areas. Actually, we have been doing that in the past where PDLs will live with their families in the barrio,” he explained, adding that, in the past, someone escaped, which forced the penal farm to close the program. But now, he said it would be hard for PDLs to escape considering that they would be living with their families in the village.
“Our plan is to make this an agro, aqua, industrial, and food production center. Let’s say we have 100 hectares. They are even asking for 1,000 hectares for coconut plantation,” he added, referring to an investor who he did not identify.
He said he expected Barrio Libertad to be opened as soon as possible.
“After three months, maybe we can implement that. Hopefully before Christmas, it is already open with around 20-30 families already (living) there,” he said.