People living in prisons should not be neglected, reminds DOJ. The agency also raised concerns about elderly inmates who have underlying medical conditions.
THE Department of Justice and Bishop Joel Baylon have raised concerns with the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and appealed to include persons deprived of liberty in the upcoming national vaccination drive.
Through Proclamation No. 1253 or the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” campaign, the government aims to vaccinate 15 million Filipinos over the course of three days from November 29, 30, and December 1.
In a November 9 report by the Bureau of Corrections, only 17,295 or 35.52 percent of 48,689 inmates in seven penal farms had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, 91 percent of persons deprived of liberty in the detention centers under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are now vaccinated.
However, the Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan reported that none of the 2,729 inmates has received COVID-19 vaccines.
By including the estimated 31,000 unvaccinated inmates nationwide, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the government would be able to reach its target of inoculating 15 million people.
“We have millions of vaccine doses available during the national vaccination days, so why not consider the health of inmates who are at risk of contracting the virus due to overcrowding in prisons,” Guevarra said.
Bishop Baylon, head of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, raised the same issue saying 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.
As of Wednesday, the NTF reported a total of 34,199,500 fully vaccinated individuals while 43,290,294 received the first dose. While 70,500 vaccines have been administered as booster shots to qualified recipients.
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