Baguio City Jail kapihan

Extra efforts are contributed for the decongestion of the city’s jails and aftercare once the “dormers” or Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) are freed.

These were pointed out during the National Correctional Consciousness (NaCoCo) “Kapihan Sa Piitan at the Baguio City Jail hall last week.

With the theme, “Pagbabago sa Kanlungan ng Piitan ay Tunay na Makakamtan Sa Makabagong Pamamaraan,” PDLs joined members of the media, service providers and representatives from the five pillars of justice, namely the Law Enforcement, Prosecution, the courts, correctional institution and the community, during the winding-up activities.

According to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Male Warden Crispin Dornagon, plans are finalized for a jail extension next year in a portion of Mt. Sto Tomas; considering UN standards for PDLs which is 4 x 4 meters living area. More activities for the PDLS may be conducted in the wider spaces, but accessibility to the courts at nearby Justice Hall is looked into, he added.

Congestion for male PDLs is 400%, Dornagon said, while Female Warden head Senior Inspector April Rose Ayangwa admitted the female dorm has a 100% congestion rate.

Of the 470 male PDLs, 57% or 268 inmates have drug-related cases, while of the 97 female PDLs have 55% or at least 53 have drug related cases. Male dormers age range from 16 to 76; while females are ages 19 to 55. Most of the PDLS are from the neighboring areas, with at least 30% highlanders.

Accordingly, activities inside the facility includes livelihood, interfaith, sports and cultural, welfare programs, all being done with the help of service providers. There are also support from groups which provide medical, psychological including attitudinal, therapeutic and behavioral; and legal help.

Industry and skills development are also focused on, specially for PDLs awaiting life outside of the facility.

According to the jail wardens, activities such as talent searches, cookfest, sports and friendly competition were conducted to commemorate NaCoCo. Service and interfaith providers reached out and were involved in the activities.

During the Kapihan Commission on Human Rights representative Atty. Joanne Toyokan said there have been no complaints reaching their office as to Baguio City Jail male and female dorm basic services and living conditions.

To fast track drug-related cases, according to Ofelia Mondiguing, Clerk of Court Municipal Trial Court in the Cities, there is strict monitoring on the detention period with strict implementation of a no postponement order, specially for drug-related cases. This could mean decongestion for the jails, she further said. Continuous service is also implemented, despite having some of the judges working simultaneously for two courts.

The Public Attorney’s representative also mentioned that free legal services are accorded for indigents, wherein hundreds, including PDLs are catered to or represented in court every week. Julie G. Fianza