MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday said Malacañang has decided to transfer heinous crime convicts to regional prisons to decongest the national penitentiary.
Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will each have a regional penitentiary, while a separate facility for high-level drug traffickers will be located in the Mimaropa region.
"Sa Bilibid kapag ang isang convict hindi na binibisita ng pamilya niya, doon na nagsisimulang magloko, doon na sumasama kung kani- kaninong mga gang, kung ano anong naiisipang gawin," he said.
(In Bilibid, convicts usually go astray, join gangs and commit misdeeds when they are no longer visited by their families.)
"Pero iyong mga binibisita, iyon usually hindi napapasama," he said.
(But those who usually have visitors refrain from committing misdeeds.)
"Paano ka bibisitahin kung tiga- Negros o Sultan Kudarat ang pamilya mo tapos ikaw ay nakakulong sa Bilibid? Hindi ka talaga madadalaw nang pamilya mo, baka kahit once a year hindi ka madadalaw," he said.
(But how can your family visit you when they are in Negros or in Sultan Kudarat and you are in Bilibid? Your family cannot afford to visit you even once a year.)
The Luzon prison will be inside the Fort Magsaysay camp in Nueva Ecija, the Senate President said.
The Visayas penitentiary will be in Camp Gen. Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, while the Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte may house the Mindanao facility, he said.
Congress needs to approve Sotto's bill when it resumes session later this month to formalize the policy.
Sotto said Malacañang has decided to decongest the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City so that the government can sell portions of the property to fund the upgrade of other penal facilities in the country.