Hundreds of contraband including mobile phones and deadly weapons confiscated during the “Oplan Galugad” operations conducted by the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) in its four sub-colonies, were destroyed on Monday morning.
Information officer CTO II Levi Evangelista said the illegal items were confiscated in operations from August 2020 to June 2021 wherein the prison management recorded around 200 cellular phones, some DVD players, gambling paraphernalia, cigarette packs, and deadly weapons.
“Ito ‘yong na-seize due to several Oplan Galugad natin from August of last year to June 2021, hindi ‘yan one-time operation. Compared natin from the previous years, ito naman ay bumaba, ibig sabihin ay nako-control natin ang pagpasok. Ang malaking hinala natin dito ay noong nagbukas tayo noong December na may mga nakapasok na contrabands,” he said.
“Itong datos na ito sa isang institusyon ay kakaunti na at titingnan pa rin natin by the next following years, compared to this year kung gaano na ka-successful o kung ang isang PDL ay nati-train natin na sumusunod sa mga alituntunin. It is our obligation na mas mapababa pa, if not mawala at least mapababa natin through the reformation,” he added.
Evangelista also said the prison management is investigating to trace the sources of contrabands in the possession of some persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and stressed that they do not believe that those would come from employees.
“Ito naman ay para hindi maghinala ang taumbayan na baka kung saan lang ito napupunta at actually ang iba rito ay hindi na rin mapakikinabangan, lumang-luma na. At ‘yong iba ay PDLs na rin ang nag-destroy, ang point natin dito ay may mga sinusunod tayong protocols, sana iyan ang maunawaan nila,” he said.
“We do understand na sayang din naman ang gadget but on our part, may protocols kasi tayo na sinusunod at contrabands kasi iyan. We have to destroy na lang ‘yong mga contrabands na ganyan. Ang mga improvised weapon naman, ang gagawin natin diyan ay ibabaon natin para ‘di na muli magamit ng kung sino, even us. Isisemento natin ‘yan,” he added.
The destruction of contrabands is also in accordance with the directive from the national headquarters of the Bureau of Corrections, he added.
ICF is not depriving the rights of PDLs in the confiscation of contrabands, he said.
Evangelista also added that the prison management has a program like ‘Komunikasyon sa Dalaw’ wherein PDLs may call their relatives outside through free phone calls while their visiting privileges are still temporarily suspended as a measure to limit face-to-face interactions.
Meanwhile, due to the recommendation of the National Inter-Agency task Force to extend the modified enhanced community quarantine status of Puerto Princesa until July 15, the restoration of ‘paabot system’ and entry of religious volunteer officers (RVO) will be moved until further notice.
“Muli ay maka-cancel na naman natin ‘yong paabot system but for us, once again ay gustong-gusto na rin natin ito. Malaking bagay sana ito at makakatulong sa pangangatawan ng PDLs itong paabot system kasi pinagbabawal pa rin natin sa kasalukuyan ang face-to-face,” he said.