MANILA – The European Union (EU), through its Governance in Justice Programme (GoJust), has provided nearly PHP10 million to support the Philippine justice sector’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a statement Tuesday, Thomas Wiersing, Charge d’Affaires of the EU delegation to the Philippines, said the aid package includes PHP3 million worth of 120 multi-media tablets and different kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies which are being turned over to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) by the GoJust in support of the bureau’s efforts to address the Covid-19 situation in detention facilities.
It also complements other forms of assistance provided by the EU such as PHP50 million in relief distributions to vulnerable communities.
“The provision of tablets and personal protective equipment reaffirms the European Union’s commitment to enable the justice sector to address the needs of the court and penitentiary systems during this pandemic,” he added.
The multimedia tablets will be used to support e-Dalaw and to pilot-test the hearing of criminal cases involving PDL through video conferencing in selected areas.
Meanwhile, the PPE sets and disinfectants intended to protect persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and jail personnel from Covid-19 exposure shall be distributed to various detention centers identified as having a high population and congestion rate.
The justice zone areas – Quezon City, Davao City, Cebu City, Angeles City, Bacolod City, and Naga City – are among those recognized to have the highest number of Covid-19 cases.
BJMP chief, Jail Director Allan Iral, welcomed the EU’s gesture.
“The success of our efforts to contain and eradicate Covid-19 in compromised facilities and to prevent it from getting into other jail units depends on the support of partners like the European Union. For this, the BJMP is most thankful,” BJMP chief, Jail Director Allan Iral said.
He added that BJMP personnel will continue working round the clock, strictly implementing health protocols and guidelines to make sure that their fellow personnel and PDLs remain protected and safe from Covid-19.
The BJMP has so far reported 716 Covid-19 cases among persons deprived of liberty in five regions, with 167 recoveries. (PNA)