The one-week suspension of the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) visiting privileges at the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) and its subcolonies has taken effect in response to the order of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
ICF information officer and corrections technical officer II Levi Evangelista said Tuesday that although BuCor’s order will still take effect Wednesday, they opted to start it in the penal farm and subcolonies on March 10.
“Naging reference ng BuCor ang declaration ng Department of Health (DOH) for public health safety that’s why si BuCor ay nagbaba agad ng precautionary measures para ma-prevent yong sakaling pag-spread ng virus na ito na maaapektuhan ang ating PDLs,” he said.
Evangelista said that the visiting days in the ICF are every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
He said that the one-week suspension is to allow the administration to prepare all necessary plans and all preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside the penal prison.
“Let us see kung this one week ay tatagal pero ang instruction sa amin ay i-suspend muna ang mga dalaw for one week. Let us see kung next Wednesday kung magbababa ng bagong memorandum,” he said.
Evangelista said that the visiting suspension is only effective for PDL visitors. The ICF will still continue to accommodate guests to visit the souvenir shops and Balsahan River.
He added that the ICF administration has already ordered the emergency purchase of about 10 thermal guns to be used in the main gates of Iwahig, Montible, Sta. Lucia, and Luzviminda, and for each of its minimum and maximum compounds.
“Siguro within this week, pinapa-emergency purchase yong pinakamadali na maka-acquire kami noon. May order na rin ang aming superintendent na magkaroon kami,” he said.
“Siguro let’s say pupunta ka ng Balsahan, magkakaroon nito sa main gate namin. Kung ang punta naman ay sa compound kapag na-lift na ang suspension na ito ay magkakaroon din ng testing sa mga dalaw,” he said.
Evangelista said that because of the threat of the virus, the number of visiting tourists in ICF premises has decreased.
He stressed that the management is concerned with the welfare and health security of the PDLs committed inside and appeals for the understanding of their relatives.
“Mahirap na maapektuhan ang isang inmate dito sa amin kaya gumagawa kami ng mga ganitong kaparaanan. At sana ay maunawaan na lang ng mga mahal nila sa buhay na pansamantala lamang ito,” he said.