MANILA, Philippines — As a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has temporarily suspended the so-called “paabot” practice, in which relatives of inmates hand over food and other items.
The suspension of this procedure, according to BJMP spokesperson J/Chief Insp. Xavier Solda, is aimed at protecting families who would have to travel for long hours just to get to jail facilities due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed over Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.
According to a BJMP official, physical visits are currently suspended, as people can check on persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) through online conferences or e-dalaw.
“Upang maprotektahan at matiyak ang kaligtasan ng mga pamilyang kinakailangan pang bumyahe sa gitna ng pinaiiral na enhanced community quarantine […] pansamantala muna po nating itinigil ang pagtanggap ng mga ‘paabot’ na siya nilang pasalubong sa kanilang mga kaanak na nakakulong habang temporarily suspended pa ang pisikal na dalaw sa aming mga pasilidad at tanging e-Dalaw at telepono lamang ang kanilang pamamaraan sa komunikasyon,” Solda said in a statement.
(To protect and ensure the safety of families that would have to travel amid the ECQ being enforced, we are temporarily suspending the practices of inmates receiving handoffs from their relatives while the physical visitation is suspended, and with the e-Dalaw and telephone calls being the only means of communication.)
However, he said that important and necessary items such as maintenance medication would be given access as long as they followed BJMP’s health and security protocols.
“Sa mga PDL naman na nangangailangan ng maintenance medicines and special diets for medical reasons, maari itong mapayagan ngunit daraan pa din po ito sa usual health and security protocols ng ating mga pasilidad,” he added.
(For PDLs who would need maintenance medicines and special diets for medical reasons, these would be allowed but it would have to go through the usual health and security protocols in our facilities.)
“Ang maprotektahan ang kalusugan at maseguro ang kaligtasan at seguridad ng ating mga PDL at personnel ay nananatili na pangunahing prayoridad ng aming ahensiya ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” he explained.
(Protecting the health and ensuring the safety of our PDLs and BJMP personnel is still the top priority of our agency in this time of a pandemic.)
Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan are currently under an ECQ status due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Currently, active infections are at 124,680, spurred by the record-breaking 10,016 cases recorded on Monday, and the additional 9,296 cases for Tuesday.
READ: DOH: 9,296 new COVID-19 cases push PH’s total active infections to 124,680
READ: PH breaks record for new COVID-19 cases again with 10,016 infections
READ: Metro Manila, 4 provinces under ECQ due to COVID-19 surge — Palace
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