Claim: Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. authorized the use of gadgets by persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).
Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the Facebook video making the claim has over 7,600 reactions, 6,300 comments, and 144,000 views.
The bottom line: Despite being deprived of many liberties, inmates are still afforded certain rights, one of which is the right to communicate, as defined in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Operating Manual.
Under section 1 chapter 5 of the third part of the manual, inmates have the “right to communicate or correspond with persons and organizations and to send and receive letters, packages, books, periodicals and other materials that can be lawfully sent by mail.”
This was the basis for the E-dalaw program facilitated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when face to face visitations were suspended in 2021.
The program started as early as October 2011 at the Quezon City Jail under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), long before Catapang was appointed director general in place of the suspended Director General Gerald Bantag. The E-dalaw program allowed inmates to use gadgets like laptops and computers to contact their loved ones under strict supervision and monitoring.
A similar claim had also been contextualized by VERA Files on November 24, 2022.
Still prohibited: Contrary to the claim made in the video’s caption and onscreen text, personal gadgets are still considered contraband and are prohibited from being used freely by PDLs. The use of gadgets under Catapang is allowed only under strict supervision, as stated by Catapang himself in the clip included in the Facebook video. – Pola Regalario/Rappler.com
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