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Tension hits provincial jail

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Tension remains high at the North Cotabato Provincial Jail in Barangay Amas here as inmates padlocked the main gate and denied entry of jail guards for routine inspection yesterday.

Jail Supt. Peter Bungat Jr., NCJP officer-in-charge, said the disturbance started last week after he assumed office and implemented strict policies inside the facility.

Bungat said he ordered the suspension of the inmates’ marital privileges as well as the bringing of food for detainees. “We need to temporarily implement new policies to curtail the illegal activities of the inmates,” Bungat said.

Bungat disclosed that despite several searches, illegal drugs still proliferate among inmates, particularly those who were nabbed for engaging in the illegal drugs trade.

He said that there are several high-profile inmates connected to drug lords detained inside the jail. “In fact, during the surprise inspection before I assumed as OIC jail warden, several contrabands were confiscated from the inmates,” Bungat said.

Bungat said negotiations to end the protest is ongoing but the inmates’ leaders refused to listen and demanded that their privileges be restored.

“We are exerting all means to convince the inmates to open the main gate,” Bungat said.

Bungat said sacks of rice and viands were placed near the main gate to enable inmates to eat their meals.

Additional police personnel were deployed in the perimeter of the jail facility while negotiations continue. (PNA)