Overcrowding has been a perennial problem in jails in the Philippines, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Friday.
ICRC’s regional director for Asia Pacific, Christine Cipolla said the agency is ready to work with the Department of Justice and other concerned government agencies to decongest detention centers in the country.
Cipolla stressed that overcrowding not only leads to the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19, scabies, and tuberculosis, but also makes reformation harder for inmates.
“We do believe that this matter should be addressed collectively in order to provide sustainable response,” Cipolla told ANC.
“And here the initiative we heard from the Supreme Court, such as…the pre-trial length of detention is reduced.
These are very encouraging initiatives that we, of course, do support,” she said.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has said that he wanted to work on decongesting jails in his first 100 days in office.
The New Bilibid Prison recently made headlines after an inmate was accused of serving as a middleman in the murder of radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid.
The so-called middleman later died, allegedly with the use of a plastic bag by members of his own gang.
Police later alleged that suspended prisons bureau chief Gerald Bantag ordered the hit order on Mabasa supposedly due to his exposés against the official. Bantag said he had nothing to do with Mabasa’s murder.