MANILA, August 25, 2015–The Catholic Church’s prison ministry is opposing a government plan to build a P50 billion mega prison, saying the project is “unnecessary”.
The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said there are other more practical solutions if only to decongest the national penitentiary.
For one, said ECPPC executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante, the project “is not the best interest of the prison community members”.
“The ECPPC has long opposed to the transfer on the ground that it is not the solution to the problem of the Bureau of Corrections,” Diamante said.
What is needed, he said, is the improvement of the existing facilities in seven colonies where inmates of National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa can be transferred.
“Moreover, there is the law on GCTA (Good Conduct Time Allowance) that if applied would dramatically decongest the jails,” Diamante said.
Approved by President Benigno Aquino III in May 2013, the law cuts prison term of inmates for good behavior to decongest the jail facilities.
“So there’s really no need to spend P50 billion on what is believed to be a modern Alcatraz,” he said.
The new prison facility will rise over the next three years in Nueva Ecija that will house convicts from the NBP.
The supposed state-of-the-art facility will be built in a 500-hectare complex within Fort Magsaysay, the country’s largest military reservation.
Diamante, however, claimed there seems to be a deeper reason behind the project and that is to give way for the commercial development in the NBP area.
“We suspect that the administration wants to satisfy the real estate developers who are after the NBP reservation,” he added. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)