DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/9 May) – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Southern Mindanao’s budget for medicine is so small that it can only fork out P3 per prisoner per day whereas ideally, each inmate should be provided P5 a day.
Avelina Delmar, chief of the health service division of BJMP-XI, said the inmates need more budget for medicine to compensate for their daily needs, especially those who need medicines to retain a healthy condition while in the prison cells.
But the BJMP’s national office allocated only P3 per month, she said.
“We only have a little budget for the medicines as the region has a small population of prisoners with about 2,000 that served as the basis for the allocation. The funds, however, should be augmented to provide them with better health care,” Delmar said.
The budget for medicines used to be P1 per day, and increased to P3 only starting last year.
She said the amount provided for each detainee is still low compared to the needed medicine.
Delmar pointed out that the cost of medicines for prisoners with mental illnesses, for instance, is P22.50 per day.
Data from the BJMP said that there are currently 18 prisoners with mental illness in BJMP-11 jails. Last year, there were 25 such cases,
but the figure declined as the cases of those patients were dismissed.
Delmar said that although BJMP-11’s budget is small, it managed to get by with help from non-government organizations, Department of Health
and local government units.
Prisoners with serious conditions are immediately referred to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (formerly Davao Medical Center). Inmates with tuberculosis, on the other hand, will be given free medication under the government’s TB-Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course program. At least four out of more than 1,000 inmates in the Davao City Jail alone have tested positive for TB during the first quarter of the year. (MindaNews)