ICF to allow religious volunteers entry, ‘paabot’ system after MECQ

The receiving area of the essentials sent by the relatives and visitors of the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in the Iwahig sub-colony. [Photo from IPPF PIO] \FILE PHOTO

The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) will start allowing the entry of religious volunteer officers (RVO) and the ‘paabot’ system or accepting additional food and other essentials from relatives of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) once the implementation of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) ends on June 30.

Information officer CTO II Levi Evangelista said additional support from the visitors and relatives of PDLs outside the prison will be helpful in the battle of the penal prison against the pandemic.

“Malaking bagay dito sa Iwahig sa paglaban natin sa pandemya itong additional support from the visitors and relatives na pwede nila ma-i-provide sa ating PDLs. Ang aim naman natin ay palakasin ang kanilang pangangatawan bukod sa pino-provide ng bureau na vitamins. Pero malaking factor din ‘yong additional support that can be provided by relatives and visitors ng ating PDL,” he explained.

He added that it will also have an impact on the psychological state of the PDLs as they are now allowed to receive essentials from their relatives outside as the visiting privileges have remained suspended since March 2020 to avoid face-to-face interactions.

“Kahit sulat o munting bagay mula sa kanilang pamilya ay malaking bagay o indikasyon na kahit sila ay nakapiit sa loob ay may nagmamahal sa kanila. Iyon ang psychological aspect at sa pangangatawan naman nila, ang epekto noon ay ‘yong support besides doon sa binibigay natin na pagkain na three times a day. From their family ay makakatulong ito nang malaki sa pagpapalakas ng kanilang katawan upang labanan ang COVID-19,” he said.

According to the memorandum order of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the restoration of the ‘paabot’ system and entry of RVO was scheduled for June 2. However, with the existing MECQ in the city, it was decided to be moved on June 19 and is now pushed further on the first Saturday of July after the MECQ was extended until June 30.

“Due to the recent pronouncement by the president that Puerto Princesa is on extension of MECQ, the opening of PDL ‘paabot’ system will be rescheduled and will re-open after the MECQ has been lifted to abide the health protocols imposed by the IATF,” Evangelista said.

Relatives and visitors may leave the essential goods at the main gates of the four sub-colonies of ICF only during weekends from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Each package is subject to sanitation and inspection to ensure that no contrabands will enter the premises of the penal facility.

The ICF has temporarily suspended the ‘paabot’ system including the visiting privileges of the PDLs since the pandemic started on March 15, 2020.

In a recent news, ICF has confiscated contrabands inside the medium-security compound of its Central Sub-Colony from the PDLs which Evangelista suspected could have entered the premises after the temporary re-opening of ‘paabot’ system during the Christmas break in 2020.

Evangelista assured that the prison management will have an intensified inspection to avoid repeat of the entry of contrabands inside its premises.

“Limited naman ‘yong pwede nila ipadala at ito ay inaasahan natin na mas intensified ‘yong gagawin na inspection and sanitation process ng ating Inmate Visitation Service Unit. We are very sure na walang contrabands na makakapasok sa pagre-open natin ng paabot,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ICF has received a P13-million worth of medical supplies include medicine, vitamins, and other items for PDLs treatment and consumption from its national headquarters in BuCor.

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