DOJ urged to pursue Bilibid transfer amid resurgence of drug trade

MANILA-- A lawmaker at the House of Representatives called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to consider transferring the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City to a new location outside Metro Manila.

Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon made the call after DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II admitted "some sort of resurgence" of the illegal drug trade inside the Bilibid. ?

"The Department of Justice should seriously consider pursuing a previous plan to transfer the National Bilibid Prison presently located in Muntinlupa City if it wishes to stop the drug trade proliferating within the national penitentiary," Biazon said in a statement.

Biazon said the transfer of Bilibid to another location outside Metro Manila with new facilities has long been considered in the previous administrations, but seemed to have been neglected by the present administration.?

During the congressional hearings on the Bilibid drug trade last year, it was revealed that the DOJ was setting aside the proposed transfer and that the targeted site was going to be used as the site for a new drug rehabilitation center.

Biazon also pointed that the narcotics business inside the national penitentiary still thrived in spite of the deployment of Special Action Force (SAF) to counteract illegal activities in the prison. ??

"The problems of the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa is brought about by the subhuman living conditions of the prison and its location in an urban center. There is a lot of motivation for inmates to pay for comfort and drugs is a high paying business for them. And with money, they can easily tempt the underpaid prison guards. As proven now, even the assignment of SAF troops is not a guarantee of immunity to corruption", Biazon said. ??

The lawmaker said the decades-old facilities have been modified by inmates and corrupt prison personnel to enable them to conceal criminal activities. ??

"The basis and justification for the transfer of the Bilibid is right there in front of us. Simply assigning soldiers to guard prison facilities will not solve the problem in the long term. It's time for the DOJ to pursue the transfer to new facilities in a new location. If such radical reform is not done within the lifetime of this administration, then all the efforts to curb the drug problem will have been in vain," Biazon said.

Source: Philippines News Agency