Christmas came early for the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) as the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) allowed the resumption of face-to-face visitation of PDLs in jails under its jurisdiction.
“Bilang maagang pamasko sa ating mga PDL at sa kanilang mga pamilya, muli po nating pinapahintulutan ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face visitation sa ating mga pasilidad. Bahagi ng pagmamalasakit natin sa kanila ang gawin ang lahat ng paraan upang makapiling din nila ang kanilang mga pamilya (As an early Christmas to our PDLs and their families, we are again allowing face-to-face visitation in our facilities. Part of our concern for them is to do everything possible so that they can be with their families as well),” said BJMP chief Jail Director Allan Iral in a statement on Saturday.
Considering the congestion rate in majority of BJMP jail facilities, only 25 percent of the total PDL population of the facility shall be allowed to avail of face-to-face visitation in a single day.
Only immediate family members of PDL shall be allowed to visit and avail of the “Contact Visitation” — provided that their names are included in the Approved Visitor’s List found in the National Monitoring System and PDL Single Carpeta System, and they have scheduled their visit.
To ensure that everyone is protected from the virus, visitors who wish to avail of contact visitation must be fully vaccinated, preferably with a booster shot against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), and proof of this must be presented prior to jail entry.
In the event that visitors are not vaccinated, they may enter the jail facility as long as they can show proof that they tested negative for Covid-19 through RT-PCR or Antigen test taken 24 to 72 hours upon entry.
Visitation hour on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., while on Saturday and Sunday are from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and will resume at 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Monday and Friday are reserved for PDL’s washday and sanitation of the entire jail facility.
Other modes of visitation such as the E-dalaw program for PDL are still available to maximize visitation, and in cases where face-to-face visitation cannot be implemented due to heightened community risk level, security, or other related circumstances.
Of the 477 jail facilities under the BJMP, only those with at least 85 percent of their personnel and PDLs are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, shall implement in-person or contact visitation.
As of Friday, a total of 126,440 PDLs, or 97.44 percent out of the 129,766 jail population already received Covid-19 jabs.
Of the 126,440 PDLs vaccinated, some 116,398 already received their first dose, 112,772 completed their second dose, and 10,042 were inoculated with a single dose vaccine.
Meanwhile, some 106,134 PDLs, or 81.79 percent of the jail population had already received their booster shot against Covid-19.
In Metro Manila, BJMP-NCR Regional Director Jail Chief Superintendent Efren Nemeño recently confirmed that all 39 jails are now ready for the resumption of contact visitation next week.
Earlier this week, jails in NCR have already conducted dry runs to ensure the proper implementation of procedures and protocols for the entry of visitors inside the facility.
“While we are mindful of the influx of visitors this season, we are also ensuring the operational readiness of our jail facilities particularly their management plan and security protocols during the holiday season,” Nemeño said.
BJMP Regional Covid-19 Task Force is tasked to monitor the conduct and implementation of contact visitation in all jail facilities under their jurisdiction.
On March 20, 2020, the BJMP implemented the absolute lockdown of all its jail facilities nationwide. During the easing of jail lockdown on April 20, 2022, jail visit was allowed but was limited to “no contact visitation” wherein visitors and PDL meet but are separated by a physical barrier.
Only essential items such as additional medicines and special dietary requirements can be brought to the facility by the families of the PDL subject to usual searching procedures and security protocols. (PNA)