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Balutan eyes NBP decongestion

Incoming Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Alexander Balutan yesterday vowed to cut off communications of drug lords and decongest the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Balutan said in an interview that the NBP is congested with 23,700 prisoners under its fold, way beyond its capacity to hold 9,000 prisoners.

“It’s overcrowded,” he said.

Overall, the NBP, Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong and five regional prisons have 41,288 inmates or an average congestion rate of 158 percent, and guard to prisoner ratio is 1:62 as of June 2016, according to BuCor data.

Last year, there were 4,100 prisoners released and 5,096 prisoners admitted, of which 5 percent were re-offenders.

Balutan, a major general of the Philippine Navy who took an early retirement for the BuCor post, said he may opt for regionalization plan by transferring NBP inmates to other penal colonies to decongest the Muntinlupa penal facility.

As of now, he said, the plan to transfer NBP to Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija, is expensive.

Balutan was supposed to assume office on August 1 but his appointment papers have not been signed yet as of press time.

He was also scheduled to go to Caballo Island near Corregidor to see if it can be used as relocation site for drug lords at the NBP but the trip did not push through. (Jonathan Hicap)