Igorot inmates at New Bilibid Prisons fear for safety

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BAGUIO CITY  – Concerned family members and relatives of the Igorot Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) at the New Bilibid Prisons Maximum Compound expressed fear for their safety as they may get the ire of some of their co-inmates that are affected by the ongoing demolition of structures in the different quadrant of the compound led by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag who is reportedly an Igorot.

“Good afternun grabeh san mangmangyari sina new bilibid prison maximum security compound. on-going demolition da pang 3 days.. gapu tay igorot c director bantag, dakami ay igorot et san pagin initan di kakadwa ay balud..,” (Good afternoon, what is happening now here at the maximum compound of the New Bilibid Prisons is alarming. The demolition is now on its third day. And because Director Bantag is an Igorot, our fellow inmates are angry at us because we are Igorots) stated a message from one of the relatives quoting their kin who is a PDL. The relatives stated that the PDLs especially the elderly have no place to sleep considering that the temporary structures that were previously erected in the area to serve as their temporary shelter because of alleged overcrowding inside the prison facility were already demolished.

The PDLs are complaining that there are no food to eat, potable water and medicines.

“Permi san inyat na aynay.. uray kuma ta in abiso na ta inala mi papapeles kaskaso importante ay us usar mi.. baken linis met iyat na ay demolish…,” ( What he did is terrible, he should have informed us earlier of his plans so that we have been able to get our documents and other important things. They are not cleaning the area but just demolishing) claimed the messages from the relatives of the inmates who requested anonymity for security reasons.

“Nay inadep da et san kuryente mi dwani lang.. talagay gagagaraen da tapnu men amag san balud si dakes tapnu wada rasun da sinan i iyat da en dakami.. san dakes na et dakami ay igorot san naiipit sina ay adi maawatan director bantag..,” (Now, they have just already disconnected our electricity. They are really making ways for us inmates to do bad things and our fellow prisoners can do what they want to do to us. And the hardest thing is we Igorots are being the ones being the targets of our fellow inmates. That is what Bantag do not understand) stated by the message.

The Igorot PDLs are claiming that there are no guards in their area making a riot inevitable which would be detrimental to their safety and will create a serious negative impact on the state of the government prison facility, especially at the height of the illegal drug controversy that has already dragged certain personalities in the picture.

The relatives of the Igorot inmates appealed to concerned national and local leaders, especially President Rodrigo Duterte and the justice department, to immediately look into the matter before the situation inside the National Bilibid Prison will go out of control and will result to the loss of innocent lives and compromise the safety of their properties.

According to them, something drastic must be taken to address the matter to prevent the occurrence of untoward incidents that will further ruin the image of the National Bilibid Prison and the people overseeing the government prison facility.

by Dexter A. See

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