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BJMP prepares for intense heat; jail ailments expected to worsen

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has reminded its personnel to start securing the water supply and ensuring proper ventilation in jails in preparation for the intense heat expected of El Niño in the days ahead.

The heat is expected to worsen jail conditions in the country, which is already at 442 percent overcapacity.

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There are around 135,000 detainees in 476 jails nationwide.

In an interview on Tuesday, BJMP officer in charge Supt. Allan Iral said that to counter the heat, ideally, detainees in the country should be able to take a bath twice daily, while jail windows should be clear of covers, even curtains.

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Water supply could be augmented with requests from the Bureau of Fire Protection, he added.

Common ailments in jail are also expected to worsen with the heat, particularly hypertension, respiratory ailments, and skin diseases.

The long-term solution is still decongesting the jails, but constructing facilities take time, he said, adding that the BJMP budget—around P1.5 billion annually since 2016—is tight.

Iral admitted that 59 minors are still in BJMP care, although he clarified that facilities for the youngsters—aged 14 to 17—are “segregated” from the adult detainee population.

“The BJMP isn’t actually allowed [under the law] to receive youth offenders anymore, but since some local government units don’t have Bahay Pag-Asa [juvenile centers], some courts still issue the commitment orders to us,” Iral said in Filipino.

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