Zamboanga City’s coronavirus cases spike as more inmates get infected

Mara Cepeda

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Zamboanga City’s coronavirus cases spike as more inmates get infected
Mayor Beng Climaco says 27 inmates and 2 BJMP personnel are the latest to acquire COVID-19, bringing the city's number of cases to 59

MANILA, Philippines – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Zamboanga City jumped to 59 after 27 inmates and two prison personnel acquired the disease.

Mayor Beng Climaco said that the positive test results of the 29 new cases came in from St Luke’s Medical Center on Saturday evening, May 2. 

“Two of the 29 confirmed cases are BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) personnel while the rest are persons deprived of liberty at the City Reformatory Center,” Climaco said in a Facebook post. 

The mayor said that the Zamboanga City government is currently coordinating with the BJMP and is “exerting best efforts to include providing resources and logistics to address the outbreak inside the city jail.”

Climaco said that they are also facilitating the transfer of the women dormitory to avoid the infection of older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Philippines has tallied nearly 9,000 cases of COVID-19, of which 603 were fatal. Still, 1,124 patients have recovered from the disease.

COVID-19 has already started infecting inmates across the country, with various groups appealing to the Supreme Court for the temporary release of detainees to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. (READ: Supreme Court can’t think ‘far out the box’ in releasing prisoners – Leonen)

The High Court is still deliberating on the petition, but has so far issued circulars for the release of prisoners under certain established decongestion guidelines. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.