MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it is working with various groups on the possible mass testing of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, following reports of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections in the facility.
“We are now talking to certain parties, including the Red Cross, for the conduct of mass testing at the CIW.” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a media statement.
“The CIW has been instructed to immediately isolate these cases in its own quarantine facilities and bring to the hospital any PDL who manifests serious symptoms,” he said.
Guevarra added that Undersecretary Deo Marco, who supervises correction facilities, is in direct contact with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Gerald Bantag and is doing the rounds to personally inspect the preventive measures so far taken.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last week announced efforts to assist the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in the establishment of the 48-bed tent Covid-19 isolation facility for detainees at the new Quezon City Jail in Payatas, which is currently operational.
The ICRC is also supporting the BJMP to expand the capacity of this facility to 150 beds to respond to future needs.
The ICRC said it is also exerting efforts to ensure that three other facilities — the new San Fernando District Jail in Pampanga (for Region 3), Quezon District Jail in Pagbilao (Region 4A), both operated by the BJMP, and the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) — will be functional as soon as possible and equipped with necessary materials, and infection-control training for its staff. (PNA)