ZAMBOANGA CITY –- The warden of the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (ZCRC) has misgivings about a proposal to transfer the facility outside the city proper.
The proposal to transfer the jail was presented on Wednesday before the City Council by neophyte Councilor Benjamin Guingona, IV, who said it is time “to transfer the city jail outside the city proper.”
Guingona pointed out Sitio Lumbayao, Barangay Mercedes, 12.75 kilometers east of this city, as a possible site for the facility.
He said the site is adjacent to Camp Abendan that houses the Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) headquarters.
Chief Insp. Julius Arro, ZCRC warden, agreed that there is a need to decongest the jail, which has 1,150 inmates.
But Arro said transferring the facility will mean millions of pesos to be spent for the infrastructure, and will pose a security problem to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
He said the BJMP will have to transport the detainees to and from the trial courts at the Halls of Justice in Barangay Sta. Barbara, .35 kilometers east of City Hall.
Barangay Zone III, where the ZCRC is located at present, is only a quarter of a kilometer from City Hall.
Arro said the inmates’ relatives or supporters might also be tempted to try and free them while they are being shuttled between the jail and the courts.
He said about two dozen suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits are detained at the jail.