The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday revealed plans to convert as the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment Rehabilitation Center (MDATRC) in Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija into a detention facility for prisoners of the Bureau of Corrections.
The DOJ through spokesperson and incoming Assistant Secretary Jose Dominic Clavano stressed that persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) now detained at the medium and minimum-security compounds of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City may be transferred to MDATRC.
“Fort Magsaysay is good place because there is an existing drug rehabilitation center there),” Clavano said.
“We want to address the congestion problem in NBP to provide humane living conditions to the prisoners,” the DOJ official said. “These plans have to be coordinated with DOH (Department of Health) and DND (Department of National Defense), however, which have a stake at the rehab facility now.”
The MDATRC was constructed inside the 75,000-hectare Fort Masaysay. In 2016, it already had 2,500 of the projected 10,000 bed facilities.
Clavano said that Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and BuCor Director General Gerald Q. Bantag visited the MDATRC last Thursday to conduct an ocular inspection.
They were accompanied by Maj. Gen. Andrew D. Costelo, the commander of the Seventh Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, he said.
Clavano said BuCor Director Bantag “is determined to improve the bureau’s facilities and to push decongestion strategies in order to help the PDLs specifically in their reformation as preparation for their eventual reintegration into the mainstream of the society in the best way possible.”
Earlier, Remulla said there is a plan to transfer to the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm (SPPF) in Occidental Mindoro the PDLs at the maximum-security compound of NBP.
PDLs detained at NBP’s maximum-security compound are those convicted of heinous crimes.
“I have looked at Sabalayan. I think this is the proper place because of its location, distance, and the size of the land,” Remulla noted.
“I think we should look into the various resources of the BuCor to make everything right),” he said.
Prior his assumption as justice secretary, Remulla said he had visited the SPPF as a possible venue where inmates of NBP’s maximum- security compound could be transferred.