NEW BILIBID PRISON RESERVATION: Security Revisited
Sometime in 2009, the national government through an executive order directed the partition of 50 hectares from the remaining 300 hectare estate exclusively reserved for the use of the Bureau of Corrections since 1935 in favor of HUDCC housing and relocation program for those required to vacate shanties along the railroad tracks, the so called “home-along the riles residents.”
Some two hundred families were awarded a housing unit each in said patch of property along the periphery of the NBP prison reservation. Earlier, through a DOJ resolution a 100 hectare parcel of estate was spliced on the northwest side of NBP prison reservation in favor of DOJ personnel for their housing requirements. All these housing projects came to be known as the NHA Housing Site (for the marginalized families formerly living along railroad tracks) on the southwest plank of the prison reservation and on the opposite perpendicular area, the DOJ Katarungan Village 1 and 2.
The NHA Housing project opened the prison reservation area through an access road leading to San Pedro, Laguna on the eastern side and to Las Pinas and Cavite on the western side through the Daan Hari road. The Katarungan village on the other hand, likewise opened the prison reservation through an access road leading to Daang Hari road which leads either to Cavite or Alabang. Both housing projects virtually tore up the main access road previously an exclusive and restricted road network of the NBP prison reservation.
The NHA housing program, not much with Katarungan village (composed of professionals and officers of DOJ offices) would provide a clear and present danger to the prison reservation (where the main penitentiary and housing for prison personnel are situated). Almost daily, prison personnel would hale a number of youthful delinquents preying on their quarters, would trespass dwelling and pack sack full of equipment and valuable properties. Since the kids are minors, they would be released as a few hours of questioning. These are children coming from the NHA housing community. Most of those in the NHA housing site are unemployed and would find the prison reservation an enriching ground to loaf and scout around. Enterprising residents of this area would likewise mount itinerant tents near prison facility for vending wares and other street foods.
For a time, until all minimum security prisoners were restricted in an enclosed zone, these NHA housing denizens would tempt, encourage and fraternize with prisoners until cases of escapes would be attributed to such interactions.
With the presence of these two major housing units, NBP prison reservation became vulnerable to civilian pedestrians, residents, visitors and even motorists who wanted to short cut their trips from Muntinlupa poblacion to Alabang or Cavite. Such route rendered the prison reservation including prison personnel quarters (officer residential zone) and minimum security prisoners maintaining the group before receiving discharged papers exposed and susceptible to the elements.
DOJ Fact Finding Board which investigated the so called Leviste Caper observed and noted that NBP prison reservation has a lot of road links passing through entrance and exit without restricted security measures. Restoring strict security measures on entrance and exits points of the prison reservation, on this score however, would render gross inconvenience on housing sites which utilizes the prison reservation road as their common road network leading to their areas.
A plan to construct a perimeter barrier or hedge that would enclose and secure the prison reservation is in the works. This infrastructure would cover the radius for the 250 hectare reservation and would reintroduce a new road link that would re-route traffic for the housing site on the one hand and prison reservation on the other hand.
Meanwhile, the NBP Prison reservation remains dichotomized into two major planks divided and dissected by a major road commonly and almost universally utilized as regular road for ingress and egress of civilian housing and residential communities in the area. Imposing security on these lanes is a composite concern which local government of Muntinlupa must address including the re-routing of motorists and pedestrians. Bucor administration is left with no other choice but pursue its plan for the construction of a perimeter fence around its prison reservation.