DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 June) – Jails in Region 11 have remained free of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an official of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)–Davao said Thursday.
Jail Inspector Edo Lobenia of BJMP-Davao said in a virtual presser that no person deprived of liberty (PDL) has been infected with the virus as detention facilities in the region have imposed stringent health measures and have been on lockdown since March.
“Yung ating jail facilities kasi had been locked down for three months, March 20, to be exact with the date, nag-lockdown ang buong jail facilities in the entire nation,” he said.
He also noted that Davao Region has implemented this “proactive” measure since early March prior to the nationwide lockdown of jail facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“You can see that many are asking why we do not have COVID case in (BJMP) Davao region. [It’s] basically because we have imposed a ban on visitors and at the same time, strict precautionary measures in our jail facilities,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
He pointed out that BJMP-Davao has installed health screening areas at their gates and in designated areas inside the jail facilities to monitor the health status of the PDLs and the jail personnel on duty.
Lobenia said they are doing the “very best to be able to commit to the standards set by the World Health Organization and the Department of Health in Davao Region” in the fight against COVID-19.
He said PDLs should enjoy the same standards of health care and services free of charge despite their legal status.
He added they have COVID-19 quarantine areas in the 11 jail facilities in the region and have established the BJMP Davao Task Force to monitor the health screening of jail personnel and inmates.
Lobenia said they regularly check the body temperature of the PDLs and jail personnel and give them free face masks.
“We conduct also regular disinfection and decontamination sa ating mga areas sa BJMP. At the same time, (we are) continuing (the) COVID-19 awareness through orientation and film viewing,” he said.
“And of course, for our (jail) personnel, we have conducted physical activities and sports clinic amongst our personnel to address anxiety during lockdown,” he added.
The official said BJMP-Davao only has 84 medical personnel – 66 nurses, one medical doctor, three medical technologists, one pharmacist, two dentists and 11 psychology graduates.
He said there were 4,427 PDLs in the region as of June 2. (Warren Elijah Valdez/MindaNews)