Additional dorms planned to decongest Davao prison

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 April) — Five additional dormitories with a total capacity of 2,500 persons will be built at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF), formerly the Davao Penal Colony, in Braulio E. Dujali town in Davao del Norte to decongest the prison facility.

Construction will run from the second quarter of this year to the first quarter of 2014, Ven Tesoro, prison superintendent, said Monday.

He said the DPPF has 10 dormitories designed to house 300 persons each but currently accommodate at least 400 inmates.

The DPPF is only good for 4,000 inmates but it currently holds around 6,000 inmates if which roughly 5,700 are males and 300 are females, Tesoro said.

He said the additional dormitories will be completed in time for the arrival of 1,000 inmates from Manila.

Each of the additional dormitories will have a budget of P6 million from the national government and will be built by the Department of Public Works and Highways, he said.

DPPF will have a total of 360 jail guards with the arrival this month of 60 more, Tesoro said.

He cited that the ideal ratio is one guard for every 10 inmates, but the DPPF has one guard for every 26 inmates.

The facility has 800 “living out” inmates who are working in a five-hectare land planted to bananas owned by the Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. (Tadeco).

These inmates were re-classified as minimum security prisoners and have a year left in their prison terms, he said.

They are receiving P261 a day, the average wage for agricultural workers in the country, Tesoro said.

He said the Bureau of Corrections gets an annual share of P39 million from Tadeco. The collections go directly to the central office, which allocates the amount to seven penal colonies.

The DPPF has fielded a total of 16,000 inmates in the banana farm in the past two decades, he said, adding that 80 percent of them applied for jobs at the company after their release. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)