The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Barangay Iwahig, Puerto Princesa City. (File photo by Palawan News)

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is preparing to receive approximately 450 persons deprived of liberties under “Oplan Lipatan” from New Bilibid Prison today, Sunday.

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) carried out the transfer of the persons deprived of liberties (PDLs) from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) on Saturday, September 23, said penal farm spokesperson CTO II Levi Evangelista.

This mass transfer comprised 400 PDLs from NBP’s security compounds and 50 from the CIW in Mandaluyong City.

“May mga Palaweño PDLs tayo na kasama sa mga matra-transfer dito—magiging malapit na ang pagdalaw sa kanila ng mga families nila. Sila ang nag-request na dito sila madala kasi andito ang pamilya nila,” Evangelista said.

“From the pier, pagdating sa Iwahig, may medical examination sa kanila, orientation program, at iba pa na dapat nilang malaman. Yong mga female natin ganoon din, kasama yong pregnancy test, kasi baka may buntis,” he added.

Evangelista assured that residents have nothing to worry about in terms of security because there are no “high-risk” inmates among the new batch of PDLs to be transferred to Iwahig.

Under Superintendent Gary Garcia’s leadership, he said the administration of IPPF is well-prepared to welcome them in Iwahig, where they won’t have to experience overcrowding similar to what they encountered at NBP.

In June of this year, the first group of 500 PDLs arrived, including 50 females. The move is part of BuCor’s “Oplan Lipatan” program, aimed at alleviating congestion in penal facilities and isolating PDLs involved in heinous activities.

BuCor Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. stated that the relocation aligns with the long-term plan to close down NBP and CIW by 2028.

The intention is to transform the 357-hectare property into a commercial development known as BuCor Global City and a government center after 5 years.

“We really need to close NBP since it is no longer practical for us to stay here where high-end residential subdivisions are now located and the residents around the area are apprehensive and fear for their safety should a prisoner escape,” Catapang said in a statement.

Under the Oplan, over 1,500 PDLs have been relocated to the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan, as well as the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro.

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