THE Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) denied over the weekend reports that the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) Maximum Security Compound is currently experiencing a “humanitarian crisis.”
At the same time, BuCor, an attached agency of the Department of Justice, denied allegations that the penitentiary’s maximum security compound is on lockdown.
However, BuCor admitted that it has suspended inmates’ visitation rights since the agency conducted clearing operations recently.
BuCor said the visitation rights will be restored once the situation in NBP, specifically the maximum security compound, improves.
Recently newly-appointed BuCor chief Gerald Bantag led the clearing operations in NBP.
According to Bantag, illegal structures mostly makeshift huts are used by inmates to hand contraband items such as illegal drugs, cellular phones, and weapons from prison officers.
“Kapag ia-allow mo ung ganyang klaseng illegal structures na yan diyan sila nagtatago kapag gumagamit ng cellphones, hindi mo na makita… Ngayon kapag may intel kang na-receive diyan, gusto mong pasukin nang mabilisan dahil meron silang sariling lock diyan, wala na, bago ka makarating sa kontrabando kung nasaan man yun, napigilan ka na, natago na, naipasa na kaya yun, giniba natin,” Bantag said.
Bantag was recently appointed by President Duterte to head BuCor. He replaced Nicanor Faeldon.
As head of BuCor, Bantag will be in charge of seven other prison facilities -- the NBP, Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Davao del Norte, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, and the Leyte Regional Prison in Southern Leyte.