Davao City Jail to impose ‘no contact policy’ to prevent drug smuggling

Davao City police chief Alexander Tagum (center) leads his men during the Oplan Greyhound joint operations on Saturday, February 23, 2019 inside the city jail in Ma-a. Four inmates were killed and three police officers were injured during the operations where police recovered two sachets of suspected shabu worth 160,000 pesos, drug paraphernalia, and deadly weapons. Photo courtesy of Davao City Police Office

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/28 February) – A “no contact policy” between visitors and inmates at the Davao City Jail in Ma-a will be implemented to prevent the smuggling of illegal drugs into the facility, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-11 spokesperson Jail Insp. Edo Lobenia said.

Lobenia issued the statement five days after authorities recovered two sachets of suspected shabu worth P160,000, drug paraphernalia and deadly weapons in an Oplan Greyhound raid.

He said in an interview on Thursday that they want the plan to be implemented soon to prevent visitors from sneaking these items into the jail.

He said the BJMP 11 created a blueprint of a receiving area where visitors will be separated by a glass wall from the inmates and will communicate only through built-in phones.

Lobenia said he is not aware of the timeline of the project but added they want it to start immediately.

The official estimated more than 300 visitors would go to the city jail during the visiting hours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

“We need to implement the policy. The BJMP is doing this with the local government of Davao and, at the same time, the national office to establish rules and regulations for the visitors,” he said.

He added the “no contact policy” was a suggestion from the city government after an ordinance was passed last year banning illegal items inside the jail.

Personnel from from Police Regional Office 11, BJMP, city police office, Regional Mobile Force Battalion, Philippine Drugs and Enforcement Agency and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group conducted a joint operation last Saturday to clear the jail facility of illegal drugs.

The operation left four inmates killed and three police officers wounded.

Lobenia said the BJMP 11 has also requested augmentation from Police Regional Office 11 to address the lack of officers securing the jail.

He blamed lack of manpower for the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the city jail. But he said BJMP 11 does not discount the possibility that some of their jail guards are involved in the illegal drug trade.

He assured the public the BJMP 11 will go after its personnel who are involved in illegal drugs. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)