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Prison returnees safe in covered court as ashfall reaches Bilibid

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 1/14/2020 NICOLE-ANNE C. LAGRIMAS,GMA News
a large white building: New Bilibid Prison thumbnail Bilibid thumbnail
from BuCor website New Bilibid Prison thumbnail Bilibid thumbnail from BuCor website

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag said former inmates who returned to prison are "safely accommodated" under a covered court as ashfall from Taal Volcano reached the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

Returnees have "enough beddings including mosquito nets and blankets," Bantag said in a report to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

While Bilibid inmates are protected from the elements, the BuCor's partnerships with local hospitals may be tapped for "worst case scenarios," according to the report.

Bantag said he ordered prison staff to be on standby 24/7 when he learned of the volcano's activity.

The Taal Volcano in Batangas has been spewing ash and lava fountains, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents, since Sunday. Ashfall reached Metro Manila and prompted the cancellation of classes in many cities.

One of the world's deadliest volcanoes, the Taal is under Alert Level 4, which means a hazardous eruption is imminent.

Bantag said the ashfall that reached the Bilibid was "light and manageable." Showering and a cleanup began when it stopped, he said.

He said there are 410 returnees in Bilibid and 24 at the Correctional Institute for Women, referring to the former prisoners who went back upon orders from President Rodrigo Duterte, who threatened the rearrest of heinous crime convicts who had allegedly been wrongly released.

Thousands surrendered, and even prisoners whose release were unrelated to good conduct time allowances (GCTA) returned. Hundreds who should not have come back have been released, but many remain at the Bilibid's minimum security compound.

Authorities are still cleaning up the original BuCor list of expected surrenderers, which turned out to be riddled with errors. — RSJ, GMA News

This article Prison returnees safe in covered court as ashfall reaches Bilibid was originally published in GMA News Online.

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