THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday ordered the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to investigate the alleged lack of food at the Iloilo District Jail following a noise barrage protest staged by inmates.
“The DILG through the BJMP remains committed to ensuring the humane safekeeping of PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) in the city, district and municipal jails under our supervision,” it said in a statement.
“We will continue to undertake measures to improve jail services and jail facilities to help in the rehabilitation of PDLs and their eventual reintegration into society.”
The agency noted that Iloilo District Jail Chief Inspector Norberto Miciano, Jr. has been temporarily relieved of his duties due to the incident.
More than 100 inmates trooped to the prison facility’s rooftop on Wednesday calling for sufficient food rations.
BJMP, under the Interior department’s supervision, detains inmates with jail sentences of up to three years. The Bureau of Corrections under the Department of Justice handles inmates with sentences exceeding three years.
Kapatid, a group that supports political prisoners and human rights, called on the BJMP to review the system of jail cooperatives that enforce “oppressive policies” that lead to lack of food supply for inmates.
“Hunger is a reality in jails across the Philippines, and it is not because of lack of food but because of oppressive jail policies,” Fides M. Lim, convenor and spokesperson of Kapatid said in a statement.
“The so-called cooperative stores in jails especially demand immediate investigation because they are part of the problem and thus cannot be the solution,” he said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez