MANILA - At least 262 out of the total 477 jail facilities managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are "drug-free", its spokesperson said on Thursday.
In a Laging Handa briefing, Jail Supt. Xavier Solda said another 40 jail facilities are "drug-cleared".
"Ito po 'yung gusto naming itaas pa hanggang sa lahat ng mga facilities natin mai-certify na drug-free and drug-cleared. Iyong intelligence-gathering natin napakahalaga noon so lahat po kami nagtutulungan at ito ho 'yung tinututukan natin sa mga jail facilities natin (We want to further increase these figures where will be able to have all of our jail facilities certified as drug-free and drug-cleared. Our intelligence gathering is very important so we are all working together and we are focusing on this matter in our jail facilities)," he added.
Solda said drug-free jails are those having no drug personalities, drug users, and illegal drugs after the conduct of search and seizure operations for three consecutive months by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Meanwhile, drug-cleared jails are those that were previously classified as drug-affected but showed improvement after the conduct of drug-clearing operations.
This came as Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. warned of surprise inspections and the conduct of random drug tests in jails to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in these facilities.
"Tututukan nating mabuti iyong disiplina ng ating mga kasamahan. And should there be, kahit isa lang 'no na personnel 'no na magkaroon talaga ng -- or magpositibo 'no sa iligal na droga, hindi namin 'yan patatawarin (We will focus on instilling discipline among our colleagues. Should there be, even if it is just one personnel who will test positive for illegal drugs, we will not be forgiving). They don't deserve to be in the service, if they lack the discipline, more so if they are into illegal drugs," he added.
Solda also said essential items being sent to persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) are thoroughly scrutinized to curb the entry of illegal drugs.
"At present, we are looking at the essential items brought to persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) because the visitation is still temporarily suspended. We had many experiences where visitors mix illegal drugs with the food given to PDLs, they are even putting them inside tetra packs, they think that our inspection of items entering our facilities is not that strict," he said in mixed English and Filipino.
Solda also expressed hope that the government will allot funds for the BJMP's acquisition of signal jammers to cut the communication between incarcerated drug lords and their cohorts.
He, meanwhile, said the BJMP hopes to implement the full digitization of PDLs' records by next year known as the "Single Carpeta System".
"What is good is that all of our 477 jail facilities have scanners for digitization and we are hoping that we are able to complete all PDLs' records by next year. This is very important for the monitoring of their cases," he added. (PNA)