By Chito Chavez
The highly congested Imus City Jail in Cavite received a big boost with the completion of a new structure that will help decongest the facility for people deprived of liberty (PDL).
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) head Jail Chief Superintendent Allan Iral has officially declared that the congestion rate of Imus City Jail is down by 2,037.78 percent which is one of the highest decongestion rates in the bureau’s history.
“From the old buildings’ 2,252.09 percent, this new jail that we inaugurated pulls overcrowding rate down to only 214.31 percent,” Iral proudly declared.
Iral thanked the city government of Imus headed by Imus City Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi for paving the way in decongesting the overcrowded Imus City Jail.
“The reduction in congestion rate tells us that we continue to progress because we have each other’s support,” Iral explained.
“While the number is still a force to reckon with, much of the weight has been lifted off our shoulders. It is not about one less work off our priority list. It is because the 1,070 lives in this facility are about to experience an improved living condition, showing how we truly care for these people”, he added.
Iral ordered jail wardens to “exhaust all means to improve the living conditions of persons deprived of liberty under their care.”
He also called for continuous support from the local government units as well as the jail personnel in ensuring that the living condition behind bars is continuously improved.
The P32-million Imus City Jail significantly improved its capacity from an old building with nine cells to 56 jail cells and a new jail space of 1,600sqm from the former facility with a space of 195.46sqm only.
Under the 4G Management Strategy of the current administration of the BJMP, BJMP spokesman Chief Inspector Xavier Solda said the proper utilization of government funds is one of its priorities particularly the on-time delivery of infrastructure projects.
The BJMP is managing 476 district, city, and municipal jails across the country.
But it is still hard pressed by the growing number PDLs at the BJMP-manned jail facilities at the National Capital Region (NCR) after the current congestion rate reached 608 percent.
“Ang congestion rate in NCR malaki na. 608 po ang NCR, out of the 442 out of the nationwide average so mataas nang bahagya, (The congestion rate at the National Capital Region is 608 percent compared to the 442 percent average nationwide),” Iral said.
He said the Manila City Jail and the Quezon City Jail are the most populated facilities in the NCR.
Solda noted the BJMP Manila City Jail has 5,731 PDLs in a facility that should only hold 1,200 PDLs.
He added the Quezon City Jail has 5,236 PDLs in a facility that was supposed to house 800 to 900 PDLs only.
To address the issue, Iral noted the creation of a National Project Monitoring Team to fast-track the construction of jail facilities.
“Kaya po may creation ng national project monitoring team. Sila na mag-eensure na dapat yung project [ay] gagawin lalo na sa construction ng facilities (That’s why a national monitoring team was formed. It will ensure that the construction of jail facilities will push through),” Iral said.
“Pag sinabi sa contract na one year tapos yung building, dapat within one year ma-turnover sa amin, (If the contract says the project should be finished in one year, the building must be turned over to us within one year),” he added.
Once the projects are completed, Iral expects jail congestion rate nationwide to dramatically drop by 200 percent.
Iral noted that two jail facilities in San Juan City and in Payatas, Quezon City are being rushed for completion.
The BJMP chief noted these would help reduce jail congestion rate in Metro Manila.
Iral added the jail facility in San Juan City is expected to be completed next year while the one in Quezon City will be finished in 2021.
Read more: New jail facility opens in Imus