Illegal shanties at NBP maximum security compound demolished

MANILA As part of the ongoing reform programs of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and other government agencies demolished illegal structures and implemented a crackdown on contrabands within the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday.

NCRPO Chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, and BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag led the operation together with personnel from the AFP Joint Task Force NCR, BJMP NCR, Bureau of Fire Protection NCR, PDEA, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the PNP Special Action Force.

The demolition is part of the new BuCor administration's reforms as it commits to institutionalize cleansing inside the country's main insular penitentiary.

''Ang problema ng BuCor ay talagang kailangan nang mabigyan ng solusyon. Bilang hepe ng NCRPO, na tumutok sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga, nakita ko mula sa napakarami nating operasyon na nandito sa BuCor ang mga malalaking taong nagpapatakbo sa malalaking transaksyon na may kinalaman sa iligal na droga. Ang tulong natin sa BuCor ay para din sa ating ikakatagumpay sa ating kampanya laban sa droga at kriminalidad (The BuCor's problem needs a solution. As NCRPO chief who focused on the campaign against illegal drugs, I have seen from our numerous operations that the big people behind big drug-related transactions are here in BuCor. Our assistance to BuCor will also help us in our campaign against drugs and crime), Eleazar told reporters during the press briefing after the demolition of shanties.

Due to the indispensable need for collaborated effort, Eleazar guaranteed full support to the current BuCor chief and his administration in the endeavor to end all forms of lawlessness and institutionalize reforms inside the NBP.

Napakatagal na panahon, trabaho ng trabaho ang mga pulis pati ibang mga law enforcement agencies hindi matatapos ang problema sa ilegal na droga. Kaya nga ng lumapit sa atin si Dir. Gen. Bantag, naisip ko ang BuCor naman nasa Muntinlupa, nasa area ko naman pinakamaganda tulungan ko siya para matulungan niya kami maging tahimik itong ating komunidad (It's been a long time. The police and other law enforcement agencies have been working hard but the illegal drug problem stays. This is why Dir. Gen. Bantag approached us. I thought BuCor, being in Muntinlupa, is still within my area so I thought it would be best to help him preserve order in this community), he said.

Bantag, meanwhile, said that the constant conduct of random raids just to clean out jail cells off from all forms of contraband is their way to fulfill the massive and aggressive reformation programs being implemented at the BuCor.

"Kapag i-allow mo ang ganyang klaseng illegal structures na yan, diyan na sila nagtatago habang gumagamit ng mga cellphones at iba pang mga ipinagbabawal na kagamitan para hindi mo na makita (If you allow this kind of illegal structures there, they will hide there while using cellphones and other contraband and you cannot see them)," Bantag told reporters during the press briefing when asked on the purpose of the demolition.

The BuCor chief, who has made a name for himself as a no-nonsense Manila "Old Bilibid" jail warden said he does not care about enraging some influential inmates over the move.

"Hindi naman natin iniitindi yung galit nila kase wala naman silang karapatan, pribiliheyo lang yan na inabuso (We don't mind them getting angry, they have no rights (to put up structures), it's a privilege that they just abused," he said.

The demolition yielded confiscated illegal drugs, weapons, sex toys, disallowed appliances, pieces of machinery and bundles of cash.

"Hindi mo na mabilang dahil napakarami (There are so many you cannot even count them)," the BuCor chief said.

The illegally-built structures breed corruption of BuCor personnel since authority to bring in construction supplies and in building structure entail a fee.

Over 65 personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) personnel used heavy equipment for the operation.

In the past, roving personnel experienced difficulties conducting custodial functions because of these shanties thus, encouraging the convicts to continue their unlawful activities.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said Bantag's orders include the dismantling of these surviving influential parties inside the national penitentiary.

"DG Bantag has personal knowledge of the facts on the ground. I am sure that inmates with money will continue to buy convenience, luxury and freedom to engage in nefarious activities while in detention. So that's the challenge that DG Bantag has to overcome," Guevarra told reporters.

These changes affected by the new BuCor leadership will lead towards the professionalized approach in the correction system of the country.

The NBP maximum security compound is occupied by an average of 18,000 PDL sentenced with above 20 years of imprisonment, recidivists, habitual delinquents, and those who are classified as highly dangerous or high security risk. (with reports from Benjamin Pulta/PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency