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BJMP, BuCor reminded on vaccination of PDLs

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JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday said the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) should take steps to find Covid-19 vaccines for persons deprived of liberty (PDL), particularly those suffering from comorbidities and aging.

Guevarra issued the statement after the Commission on Human Rights called on the government to fulfill its obligation to treat all PDLs as human with inherent dignity and rights, including their right to health.

The justice department, according to the DOJ chief, has pushed for the inclusion of PDLs in the Priority 4 Category for the main reason that their space limitation makes them vulnerable to community transmission of the disease.

Among those included in the A4 priority list are private sector employees who are required to work outside their places of residence; employees of government agencies, government corporations and local government units, informal sector workers who are self-employed who may be required to work outside their residences, and those in private households.

As for those with comorbidities and senior PDLs, Guevarra said the BuCor and the BJMP “are duty-bound to make proper coordination with local government units [LGUs] in the places where jails and prisons are located.”

“LGU officials naturally tend to prioritize their own constituents and persons who are economically active, but PDLs are human beings entitled to humane treatment too. If the LGUs concerned cannot provide enough for them, then the BuCor and the BJMP should seek their own independent sources,” Guevarra stressed.

However, he admitted a steady vaccine supply is necessary to address this issue.

“We hope with the arrival of more vaccines in the coming days, sufficient quantities could be set aside for PDLs at risk,” he said.

As of August 2021, BuCor reported that 474, all senior citizens, out of 48,000 PDLs in seven prison facilities under BuCor across the country, have been inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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