Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Bureau of Corrections is planning to address the rising number of inmate deaths due to the lack of sufficient medical equipment and staff at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa by seeking the assistance of the Department of Health.
NBP Hospital Chief Henry Fabro recently revealed that there are only 13 doctors in various penitentiaries nationwide with only five assigned in the BuCor to attend to the health needs of at least 18,000 prisoners in the maximum security compound. He said they would be needing the assistance of the DOH for additional doctors and in acquiring medical equipment for the prison hospital.
Fabor said at least one prisoner dies every day in the maximum security prison due to lack of medical assistance. He added that the usual cases of death in the prison are heart attack and chronic kidney diseases, among others. Records from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology show that the mortality rate at the BJMP ranges from 300 to 800 yearly since 2015.
Persons may be deprived of liberty upon entering the penal system but they should not be stripped of their humanity. A prison system that has five doctors for the at least 18,000 in maximum security where inmates have absolutely no access to the outside world and therefore depend on their jailers for all their basic needs, including medical care, cannot be considered humane, he said.
The Bureau of Corrections asking help from the Department of Health to address and improve the health and welfare of its inmates is a welcome development for a humanitarian problem that has apparently been ignored by public officials for decades. Hopefully this cooperation will result in penal facilities that can rehabilitate lives better because of more humane conditions for the thousands of inmates in prisons all over the country.*