QC to build new jail to address overcrowding

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2016 01:41 PM

Inmates sleep on the ground of an open basketball court inside the Quezon City jail in this picture taken on July 21, 2016. Noel Celis, AFP

MANILA – The Quezon City local government is set to construct a new jail facility after pictures showed horrendous overcrowding at the Quezon City Jail. 

READ: Philippine crime war packs decaying jails

Plans of putting up a bigger and more modern Quezon City jail was unveiled by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista Monday morning to Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno in a simple memorandum of agreement signing at the city hall. 

Bautista said the city government bought a piece of land in Payatas that will house the new jail facility. The jail will be donated to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. 

"What the city government did - we will be approving to put up a fire station, a police station, barangay center health facility, and another facility na tulugan ng mga jail officers," he said. 

He said a 2019 deadline is being eyed for the construction of the jail facility. 

The new facility will cost around P1.5 billion. It can house 6,000 to 8,000 inmates. BJMP records show that the current Quezon City Jail can only accommodate 300 inmates, but is currently home to nearly 4,000 inmates.

Due to overcrowding, inmates have been suffering from various diseases such as boils and tuberculosis. 

Bautista admitted that there has been a tremendous increase in the number of inmates in the past few years, with more than 50 percent of inmates involved in drug-related cases.

Sueno said congestion in jail facilities must be addressed soon, especially that the Duterte administration has launched a war on illegal drugs.

The challenge for the DILG now is looking for a source of funding for the construction of the facility. Bautista said they will seek the help of lawmakers.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, meanwhile, offered an alternative option if the construction of the modern jail facility will be delayed due to lack of funding.

"Meron kaming P3 billion supplemental budget, kung hindi niyo na mahintay Kongreso at Senado, pwede namin kayo pautangin," Belmonte said.

She added the pictures showing the plight of the inmates have put the Philippines in bad light.