Council junks women’s requests

CITY councilors yesterday junked the requests seeking aid to female inmates at the city jail in Barangay Ma-a.

In the council session yesterday, Councilor Avegayle Ortiz-Omalza, chair of the city council’s committee on women, children and family relations, said those requests “can either be moot and academic.”

The requests seeking conveniences to female inmates at the city jail were among the resolutions crafted during the Women Summit, which had about 400 participants from various women’s group, held last March. The annual summit was organized by the Integrated Gender and Development Division, an office under the City Mayor’s Office.

The proposals, Omalza said, “would have security and safety concerns, or being in contrast with the current policies of the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) and the laws that govern it.”

Among those requested during the women’s summit were to allow women inmates to buy their groceries on a regular basis; ensure women inmates to have communication with their families by way of giving back their mobile phones and to stop limiting attendance in different religious activities.

They also sought for the speedy disposition of cases and justice system for faster decongestion of jail facilities and to have a more frequent visit a month for women inmates.

During the hearing conducted by the committee on women, children and family relations on June 2 at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the BJMP reported that they imposed limitation on the bringing of groceries inside the facility following the Roxas night market bombing last year and declaration of state of lawlessness.

This, the bureau explained, was enforced as the city jail was suspected as target for attacks.

The BJMP also stated that based on its Standard Operating Procedures No. 2010-05 mobile phones are included in the list of prohibited and nuisance contraband, which are not allowed inside the facility.

Further, there is a landline available inside the facility which inmates can use for outside calls. However, this is being monitored by the BJMP personnel.

The BJMP also clarified that the inmates can receive visitors daily except Mondays but subject to strict method of searching to ensure safety and security in the city jail.

The report of the committee on women, children and family relations also showed that “there is only one designated place for religious activities for all religion thus making it a necessity to schedule the time for each.”

It quoted BJMP personnel that “attendance of the inmates in religious activities would depend on whether a religious group would bring something for the inmates or not.”

“They (inmates) would swarm the place if religious groups visit with snacks or other items but would not attend if there is nothing for them,” the committee report said.

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