Climaco exhorts BJMP to expedite jail transfer PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 September 2017 15:35

Mayor Beng Climaco is asking the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) central office in Manila to expedite the approval of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the transfer of the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center or City Jail from its present site at Varela Street downtown to the 6.6-hectare property in Barangay Talisayan, west of this city.

Climaco made the appeal during her ocular visit to the City Jail Tuesday morning as she sought updates on the situation inside the prison facility under its new warden, J/Supt. Allan N. Vargas.

The chief executive brought along with her Task Force Zamboanga commander Col. Leonel Nicolas, City Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Rodrigo Sicat and Engr. Christopher Navarro, officer-in-charge of the City Engineer’s Office.

It was learned from the jail warden that the MOA is still with the BJMP in Manila.

Engr. Sicat said the mayor urged Vargas to follow up the MOA to expedite the jail transfer.

According to Sicat, once the MOA is approved by BJMP Manila it has to be forwarded to the city government for review and approval, then at least three months are needed for the CEO to prepare the plans, and six months thereafter the actual construction could begin on the ground.

Under the agreement, the city government provides the 6.6-hectare lot in Talisayan for the new city jail, while the BJMP will construct thereat the main prison building and other facilities that would amount to P220 million.

In addition, Sicat said the city had already allocated P18 million for road widening, P20 million for road concreting, construction of a multi-purpose building and a police outpost or Community Police Action Center (COMPAC).

The need to transfer the city jail has become more urgent due to heavy congestion of inmates totaling 2,637 (as of Sept. 5, 2017) against its maximum capacity of 800, thus a congestion rate of 785%.

Of the total, 1,913 are facing drug charges, and 124 are considered high risks to include 50 from the organized crime group, 1 high profile, 6 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members, 1 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) member, and 66 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members.

For the month of August alone, 121 new inmates mostly drug related were committed to the city jail and only 81 were released. In 2016, 1,019 were committed and only 758 were released.

In the meantime, Climaco committed to source out funds for the purchase of tents, earth mats, and 2 oxygen tanks with face masks for use by the inmates as requested by Jail Warden Vargas.-(Vic Larato/PR)