IN PHOTOS: No VIP treatment in these detention centers
MANILA, Philippines – I have spent the last 4 years finding ways to call attention to the squalid conditions of Philippine detention centers, where citizens accused of crimes – although not yet sentenced – are put to jail. In these centers, detainees suffer in conditions not fit for human beings.
My goal is not put blame on one institution because as it stands now, no matter what kind of expertise these institutions have, their efforts to correct and improve will always fall short because the problem is institutional and structural.
They lack the funding and resources to make conditions in detention centers better. In fact, they seem to be doing better than expected with their limiited resources.
Reports about the VIP treatment of jailed drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison, which is managed by the Bureau of Corrections, merely unmasked the inequalities perpetrated in our penology system. This also proves what money and power can do.
But we as a people cannot use these arguments to justify the situation, because we eventually suffer from the consequences of their unjust incarceration. When they are released, they are again forced to commit crimes – sometimes even worse than what they had been accused of previously.
Eventually, our neglect becomes our own liability.
Penology management in our country does not have a single standard of operations because management is distributed to several organizations and each operates independently without a common barometer of acceptable performance.
Our jails are managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Provincial Governments and Bureau of Corrections. If we have to eventually correct these problems, we have to address this issue, allocate more funds to agencies concerned, or find alternative ways to improve conditions.
According to a July 2014 report of the BJMP, 360 out of 449 or 80% of the facilities were classified as congested.
I just hope that these images will make those in a position to introduce changes pay attention to these detainees who deserve just and humane treatment.
Corrective measures will not be enough.