People living in prisons should not be neglected as COVID-19 vaccination program roll out across the country, the Catholic Church’s office in pastoral care for prisoners said.
Bishop Joel Baylon, head of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said that protecting incarcerated people from COVID-19 is equally important with the other sectors of society.
“They must be guaranteed protection and safety from the COVID-19 virus, like the rest of the country,” Baylon said.
So far, he said they welcome that 91 percent of persons deprived of liberty in the detention centers under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are now vaccinated.
The Legazpi bishop also noted that a similar effort is already being done by the Bureau of Corrections in their respective facilities, “albeit for a still smaller percentage of PDLs”.
“We hope and pray that these urgent and necessary responses in behalf of our brothers and sisters in the various detention facilities all over the country – including the centers for children in conflict with the law – will guarantee that they will not be left behind or taken for granted,” Baylon added.
Data shows that there are over 48,000 convicted inmates that are imprisoned in BuCor prisons.
On the other hand, about 117,000 PDLs, who are still facing trial, are detained in various district, city, and municipal jails under the BJMP.