Bureau of Corrections

Group urges Bucor to reconsider ban on ‘paabot’ to Bilibid prisoners

Dwight de Leon
Group urges Bucor to reconsider ban on ‘paabot’ to Bilibid prisoners

BuCor chief Gerald Bantag leads the disinfection of the New Bilibid Prison on March 19, 2020.

BuCor Photo

Prisoners' rights group Kapatid insists the delivery of food to inmates inside 'congested prison facilities' is critical for their survival

A prisoners’ rights group slammed the Bureau of Corrections’ (Bucor) decision to maintain restrictions on “paabot” or delivery of food and other essential goods to detainees at the New Bilibid Prison.

Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim first sent a letter to Bucor spokesperson Gerald Bantag on Tuesday, March 30, asking the agency to reconsider the temporary suspension of “paabot” in Bilibid because of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the government’s strictest form of lockdown, in Metro Manila and 4 nearby provinces.

But Bucor said on Wednesday that their decision was in accordance with guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases which imposed “stringent limitations on movement and transportation of people”.

In a statement Thursday, Kapatid insisted that the delivery of food and other essential goods was “critical for the sustenance and survival” of people inside “congested and unsanitary prison facilities”.

“At no time do PDLs [persons deprived of liberty] need food and medical support most than at present,” Lim said.

“We are not asking at all for 24/7 delivery but the reasonable, compassionate continuance of delivering provisions essential to human health,” she added.

Kapatid sent a new letter to Bucor on April 1 asking that it reconsider its decision to keep restrictions on food deliveries.

International group Human Rights Watch in April 2020 warned about worsening conditions in Philippine prisons amid the pandemic.

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It expressed fears that COVID-19 was spreading more quickly in detention facilities, leading to prison deaths that have not been fully reported by the government. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.