PHL Gov’t Eyes Alcatraz-type Detention in Palawan for High-Profile Inmates

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MANILA — The government is considering several islands in Palawan to transfer high-profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, especially the convicts involved in illegal drug trade.

“Meron na kaming kino-consider na ilang isla sa Palawan na talagang walang signal,” Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II said last week.

The administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte is bent on eradicating illegal drugs trade in the country, in which 75 percent of the source come from the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, according to Aguirre and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Roland Dela Rosa.

Convicted drug lords at the NBP still manage to run the trade through the use of smuggled mobile phones and internet connections inside the national penitentiary.

Aguirre said that stopping the use of mobile phones and block internet access inside the prison is the key to stop the majority of the illegal drug trade.

The inmates who may be moved to an island will be from the Maximum Security Prison of the NBP.

“We will start at the Maximum Security Prison,” Aguirre said.

He added that their priority will be the convicts involved in illegal drug trade “because that is the priority of our President.”

On the other hand, Aguirre said that the entry of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) is “anytime soon,” as they are processing the papers of the new prison officials.

Aguirre added that all prison employees will undergo retraining, reeducation and reassignment while the SAF elements and the Marines will take turns in guarding the national penitentiary.

After the retraining and reeducation, Aguirre said they will be scattered to the seven operating units of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Aside from NBP, BuCor’s other operating units include the Abuyog Penal Colony in Leyte, Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City, and the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.