The Catholic Church has strongly opposed the government’s plan to build a P50-billion modern prison facility that would replace the existing New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante, said there were more practical solutions to address the congestion problem in the jail facility.
“It is not [in]the best interest of the prison community members,” Diamante said, adding that what is needed is to simply improve the existing facility.
“Moreover, there is the law on GCTA (Good Conduct Time Allowance), that if applied, would dramatically decongest the jails,” Diamante said.
Approved by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in May 2013, the GCTA cuts prison terms of inmates for good behavior.
“So there’s really no need to spend P50 billion on what is believed to be a modern Alcatraz,” said Diamante.
He said that Malacañang approved the prison project to give way to the commercial development of the NBP.
Former Bureau of Correction Director Franklin Bucayo had earlier disclosed, before a Senate committee hearing, that the project would be built under the Public-Private Partnership Program of the government.
The envisioned state-of-the-art prison facility that would be able to house 26,000 inmates will be built on a 500-hectare lot in Laur, Nueva Ecija.
The lot is part of Fort Magsaysay, the largest military reservation, where the President’s father, the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., was imprisoned.