Igorot inmates at New Bilibid Prison fear for safety

By JOSEPH GREGORIO
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Relatives of Igorots serving their time at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) Maximum Compound expressed fear for the safety of their kin who may become targets for their shared ethnicity with the new director of the facility.

The alleged threat arose from the ongoing demolition of “kubol” or illegal cottages built inside the prison led by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag, who is an Igorot.

“Grabeh san mangmangyari sina new bilibid prison maximum security compound. on going demolition da pang 3 days.. gapu tay igorot c director bantag, dakami ay igorot et san pagin initan di kakadwa ay balud (What is happening here at the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison is alarming. The demolition is now on its third day. And because Director Bantag is an Igorot, our fellow inmates are angry at us Igorots),” states a message from one of the relatives, quoting kin inside the NBP.

Meanwhile, other families of Igorot Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) also complained of the dismal state of prisoners inside the institution.

According to the relatives of the PDLs, elderly inmates have no place to sleep as some of the more appropriate shelters were demolished while others complain about lack of food, potable water, and medicines.

“Permi san inyat na aynay.. uray kuma ta in abiso na ta inala mi papapeles kaskada importante ay us usar mi.. baken linis met iyat na ay demolish… ( What he did is terrible, he should have informed us earlier of his plans for us to get our documents and other important things. They are not cleaning the area but just demolishing),” claimed the message.

The maximum-security compound, which houses those tagged as dangerous and high-security risks, has18,000 prisoners.

Besides the possible effect of their cultural connection with the new BuCor chief, Igorot PDLs claimed that there are no guards in their area, making a riot inevitable.

“Nay inadep da et san kuryente mi dwani lang.. talagay gagagaraen da tapnu men amag san balud si dakes tapnu wada rasun da sinan i iyat da en dakami.. san dakes na et dakami ay igorot san naiipit sina ay adi maawatan director bantag.. (Just now, they disconnected our electricity. They are making ways for us inmates to do bad things, and our fellow prisoners can do what they want to do to us. The bad thing is we Igorots are the ones targeted by our fellow inmates. That is what Bantag does not understand.),” the message said.

BuCor said the destruction of illegal structures inside NBP commenced early morning of October 9, involving 1,800 law enforcers and Department of Public Works and Highways personnel. Bantag together with Special Action Force chief Maj. Gen. Amando Empiso and National Capital Region head Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar headed the o.

SAF personnel augment the regular BuCor guards as part of the campaign to eliminate corruption and illicit activities inside the prison.

BuCor said the structures illegally constructed by the inmates encourage corruption and empower the PDLs to continue with their illegal operations. # nordis.net / Featured photo from PNA

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