COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City asks DOJ to reconsider transfer of PDLs with COVID-19 in Bilibid

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City asks DOJ to reconsider transfer of PDLs with COVID-19 in Bilibid

The City Government of Muntinlupa expressed its opposition against the use of the New Bilibid Prison as a quarantine area for persons deprived of liberty who tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the Department of Justice.

Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi sent a letter to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra signifying the city’s protest for the transfer of COVID-19 PDLs in Muntinlupa saying it poses a threat to city residents.

“Let it be stated that we are mindful that we are mindful of our obligation to extend humane considerations to those afflicted with the pandemic virus. However, we have also to consider the thousands of Muntinlupeños who are put at greater risks with the additional COVID-19 patients brought to the city.” Fresnedi said.

The mayor cited Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which states that, “Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied there from, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology…”

The City Government of Muntinlupa recently coordinated with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) regarding the protest.

On April 21, the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) transferred 18 women PDLs who tested positive for COVID-19 from the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City to the New Bilibid Prisons (Medium Security) in Muntinlupa City.

Following the transfer, BUCOR reported one male PDL from the Medium Security Compound who tested positive for COVID-19 and was confined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. The male PDL died on April 24.

BUCOR conducted contact tracing on the day the patient was hospitalized and forty (40) PDLs, including medical staff, were placed in isolation.

The Muntinlupa City Council has passed a resolution to express protest and opposition to the transfer. It stressed that such transfer cannot be done without prior consultation with the City Government and the people and villages living or residing near and surrounding the Medium Security Compound, Camp Sampaguita, and without the prior approval of the Sanggunian.

The Bureau of Corrections has recently requested the Department of Education for the use a public elementary school in the New Bilibid Prisons Reservation (Itaas Elementary School) as a quarantine area for its personnel.

Muntinlupa Schools Division Office advised BuCor to comply with the requirements provided by DepEd before it endorses the request to the DepEd-NCR Director for further action.

Department of Interior and Local Government released Memorandum Circular 2020-062 dated March 21, 2020 which states that public schools shall not be used as quarantine or isolation areas unless explicitly allowed by the DepEd and strictly following the guidelines.

As of May 3, Muntinlupa City Health Office recorded 154 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city with 22 deaths and 46 recovered cases. According to the local health office, there are 8 “suspect” cases and 443 “probable” cases in Muntinlupa to date.

This is an official Press Release issued by the City Government of Muntinlupa. Some parts were edited for this website. 

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