Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. has received the go signal to transfer thousands of persons deprived of liberty or PDLs from the minimum and medium security compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City to penal colonies in the provinces.
In an interview with Catapang after the meeting with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, he said that the target is to start the transfer of prisoners from Bilibid this year, which he said is part of the decongestion program in Bilibid and the 5-year plan in BuCor.
“Ito ‘yung pinaplano namin na magiging legacy ng ating mahal na pangulo. Within the 6-year term malilipat na natin lahat ‘yung mga PDL sa New Bilibid Prison sa mga regional penal colonies.
“Magsisimula ako this year, makakapaglipat na ako ng almost 7, 500. Kasi ngayon ang concept kada isang kulungan na sementado — iyong may tower o wall — 2,500 na lang. Bawal na ‘yung nangyari sa New Bilibid na 6,000 lang ang kaya, [pero] inabot ng 18,000. Ang allowed lang doon sa compound ng maximum, 2,500; mayroon ka ring medium [kung saan] ang allowed [ay] 2,500. Doon sa minimum, 2,500 lang din,” said Catapang.
Right now, it is estimated that there are 50,000 PDLs, or prisoners, in all the penal colonies managed by BuCor nationwide, according to Catapang.
BuCor plans to transfer inmates from Bilibid to provinces
He said BuCor plans to divide the prisoners from Bilibid and transfer them to penal colonies in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“‘Yung minimum, lipat ko sa Fort Magsaysay… ‘Yung medium, hati-hati — 2,500 sa Davao, 2,500 sa Palawan, 2,500 sa Leyte. Iba-barko ko sila… Ang mahirap diyan, paano mo ililipat ‘yan from Muntinlupa papunta ng Davao, Palawan, tsaka Leyte. Makipag-coordinate pa sa Navy kung puwedeng isakay sa mga landing ship,” explained Catapang.
Meanwhile, while Remulla initially stated that only a few hours would be counted for Catapang’s appointment papers as permanent BuCor chief, there has been no confirmation from Catapang himself if he already holds that position.
Meanwhile, after confiscating from some Bilibid jail guards on January 12 an estimated P300,000 that was allegedly hidden in the lockers of BuCor employees, Catapang ensured the implementation of reform in the process of sending money to prisoners in Bilibid.