IF many detention facilities of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are congested today, blame it partly on the success of the Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Since July 1 last year, operatives of the 160,000-strong PNP, which is civilian in nature but national in scope, have arrested more than 72,000 known illegal drug dealers and users.
In the metropolis alone, nearly 100 people are being arrested every day by operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) under Director Oscar D. Albayalde.
Of course, the PNP leadership wants to address jail congestion by constructing additional police jails with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In the country, the common complaint is that a Philippine jail built to accommodate 20 detainees is being occupied by 60 inmates, while an average of 200 prisoners is occupying a jail designed for only 80 persons.
Note that the country’s premier law enforcement agency, along with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), is under the DILG.
Saddened by the plight of detainees, including women and the elderly, the police leadership wants to replace all police detention facilities with United Nations-standard jails.
Although the number of drug offenders being arrested continues to grow in this Southeast Asian nation, no additional police detention facilities are being built by the government.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of building more spacious detention facilities considering the mushrooming number of people caught violating Republic Act No. 9165.
And as Duterte gears up for the second year of his six-year presidency, Congress ought to help him by allocating more funds to be used in the total war against shabu and other illegal drugs.