The government is seriously considering relocating high profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), especially the convicts involved in illegal drug trade, to a prison island in Palawan.
“Meron na kaming kino-consider na ilang isla sa Palawan na talagang walang signal (We are considering some islands in Palawan where there is no cell phone signal),” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said on Friday.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is bent on eradicating illegal drug trade in the country, 75 percent of which comes from the NBP, according to Aguirre and Philippine National Police Chief Roland dela Rosa.
Convicted drug lords detained at the NBP still manage to run the business through the use of smuggled mobile phones and internet connections, said Aguirre, adding prohibiting these inside the prison would cut down the proliferation of the trade.
Inmates from the maximum security compound may be the first batch to be transferred to the island, he said.
“We will start at the maximum security prison,” Aguirre said, adding the first ones to go would be the drug trade convicts “because that is the priority of our President.”
Meanwhile, Aguirre said the entry of the PNP’s elite Special Action Force to the NBP would be “anytime soon” as the papers of the new prison officials were still being processed.
He said all prison employees would undergo retraining, reeducation and reassignment while the SAF and Marines would take turns in guarding the national penitentiary.
After the retraining and reeducation, Aguirre said the officers would be assigned to the seven operating units of the Bureau of Corrections. Aside from NBP, BuCor’s other operating units include Abuyog Penal Colony in Leyte, Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City and the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.
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