Photo courtesy of Iwahig Corrections Facility

The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) has denied claims that good conduct time allowance (GCTA) surrenderees are not being treated properly under their custody at Building 4.

ICF senior superintendent Geraldo Aro clarified Wednesday in an interview with Palawan News that they are addressing their concerns and are providing their basic needs despite lacking funds.

Aro made the clarification following the escape of several GCTA surrenderees, the latest of which happened on Monday. The four escapees were re-arrested a day after by barangay tanods of San Manuel and members of the Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTF).


ICF personnel as they distribute food to surrenderees. Photo courtesy of Iwahig Corrections Facility

The ICF is also being accused by GCTA surrenderees who refused to be named of not feeding them enough and of still treating them like persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

“Lahat naman ng hinaing at concerns ng mga returnees ina-address ko lahat, hindi naman perfect ang situation ‘di ba? May mga pupuga talaga — it is not a regular dormitory itong ating Building 4. Itong mga ito naman because of the pronouncement by our President (Rodrigo Duterte) kaya nandito sila, sumurrender itong mga ito, pero pinangangalagaan namin sila. Under our custody, for safe keeping purposes, pinapakain namin sila diyan, lahat ng basic needs binibigay namin,” he said.

Aro also said that even employees and other corrections officials are giving contributions to the food of the surrenderees.

“Ang nag-initiate nang feeding ang mga opisyal ko, no less than my commander ng Inagawan, commander of the central, nag-contribution sila, pinakain nila, concern nga kami sa situation nila. Tinitingnan namin ang welfare nila, mga personnel ko dito ‘yon, nagtutulungan, nag-co-contribution, pinapakain nila, atleast kami we are trying our best,” he said.

He also said that they are allowing the family of the surrenderees to visit them and even to stay with them for a short period for human consideration, especially for those who came from far places.

Aro said he does not deny visitations because the GCTA surrenderees need to also know if family members are doing well despite their absence.

“Lahat ng dalaw hindi ko naman pinagbawalan, pinapayagan ko minsan [matulog ang mga asawa] pag malayo siyempre, for humanitarian consideration, hindi naman pwedeng payagan generally, saan kasi patutulugin ‘yan, mawawala ‘yong disiplina, dapat may rules and regulation pa din tayo na sinusunod,” he said.

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Jayra Joyce Cañete Taboada handles the law and order and the science and education beats. She is also a licensed professional teacher.