MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged caterers hired by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) for various violations, including serving pork to Muslims and Seventh-Day Adventists inmates.
In 2021, the BuCor allotted a total of P813.614 million for the meals of all inmates in the following:
- Medium Security Compound – P192.11 million
- South Maximum Security Compound – P164.8 million
- East Maximum Security Compound – P129.67 million
- West Maximum Security Compound – P109.66 million
- Correctional Institution for Women – P86.87 million
- North Maximum Security Compound – P53.65 million
- Reception and Diagnostic Center – P39.37 million
- Minimum Security Compound – P37.28 million
In its audit report for 2021, released last August 3, the COA listed the violations committed by AFS Eatery, which had already been flagged before by state auditors.
The caterer won the contracts for “all prison facilities at BuCor-Main,” covering the period of January 1 to December 31, 2021, except the contract for the Maximum Security Compound-South, which was awarded to the Yovel East Research Development Inc.
The COA said that despite BuCor guidelines saying Muslim and Seventh-Day Adventists inmates should be “given food in accordance with their religious practice,” some of the ingredients on the menu of AFS Eatery included pork strips.
On January 8 and May 8, 2021, meanwhile, inmates from the two religious groups were served only steamed rice for breakfast and lunch.
According to auditors, there were also dates when inmates were given only one cup of rice instead of two, which was the full recommended food intake as specified in the Guide to Serving Portions.
In addition, it was found that, without approval from the BuCor, the same caterer replaced items of cooked food and raw rations with those that had “lesser nutritional value and of lesser quantity.”
The COA also flagged both AFS Eatery and Yovel East Research Development Inc. for not complying with their food and subsistence agreements (FSAs). Their contracts allowed the caterers to hire inmates as food helpers, but they must ensure that the people they will hire are fit to work in food-related jobs.
“Out of 126 PDLs hired by AFS Eatery, only 79 have health certificates and occupational permits from the City Health Office of Muntinlupa, while two employees and all 74 PDLs by Yovel East have no health certificates,” the COA noted.
The acting superintendent of the Maximum Security Compound, reacting to the auditors’ findings, said existing FSAs would be reviewed and that both prison officials and contractors would be required to follow existing guidelines. – Rappler.com