493 ‘high value’ Bilibid convicts moved to ‘supermax’ prison | Inquirer News
Off to Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro

493 ‘high value’ Bilibid convicts moved to ‘supermax’ prison

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:36 AM August 12, 2023

Gregorio Catapang Jr.

Gregorio Catapang Jr. —LYN RILLON

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said on Friday that 493 heinous crime convicts from New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, including drug lords and murderers, were secretly moved to a “super maximum” facility at the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm (SPPF) in Occidental Mindoro province.

“I did this in secret. I did not call the media because these are high-value targets, high-value prisoners,” Catapang said in a radio interview. He did not identify the transferees whom he described as “troublesome” convicts from the national penitentiary’s maximum security compound.


He added that aside from addressing congestion issues at the NBP, the transfer would “also be good for [the inmates’] health, security and safety.”


Catapang described the Sablayan facility as having no internet signal and with each prisoner assigned to a cell. “There were instances that inmates who tried to escape would just go back to prison, telling us that they [were afraid to] die outside since they were lost,” he said.

Largest facility

BuCor has decided to use part of SPPF, the largest penal facility in the country with 16,000 hectares of land area, to temporarily house heinous crime convicts in compliance with Republic Act No. 11928, or the “Separate Facility for Heinous Crimes Act,” which lapsed into law on July 30, 2022.

The design for a 2,500-bed center in the Sablayan supermaximum facility was approved this year, with funding for the P6-billion initial construction plan to be taken from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ 2023 budget.

Under the law, BuCor needs to build separate facilities for convicts of heinous crimes—at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija for Luzon; Camp Macario B. Palta in Jamindan, Capiz for Visayas; and Camp Kibaritan, Kalimantan in Bukidnon for Mindanao.


The NBP is currently housing more than 30,000 inmates, resulting in a congestion rate of 373 percent since it is meant to house only 6,435.

BuCor has started transferring some prisoners to other facilities as part of efforts to decongest and eventually shut down the national penitentiary in five years’ time and convert the remaining 367 hectares of the NBP Reservation to “BuCor Global City” as part of a fund-generating project for the government.


Central to BuCor’s P205-billion plan for 2023 to 2028 is the transfer of NBP to another site outside Metro Manila on top of the construction of a prison facility in 16 regions to decongest the existing seven prisons and penal farms now housing more than 51,000 inmates.

On June 27, the first batch of 500 inmates—described by Catapang as “well behaved”—from the NBP’s medium and minimum security compounds and the Corrections Institution for Women in Mandaluyong were moved to the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa, Palawan province.

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So far, around 1,000 inmates have been moved outside Metro Manila, including 10 who were tapped as witnesses in a drug case against former Sen. Leila de Lima.


7,500 Bilibid inmates to be transferred

BuCor sends 500 inmates from Muntinlupa to Iwahig penal farm

TAGS: Bureau of Corrections, New Bilibid Prison

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