“Zero escape from DAPECOL”- prison superintendent

mar 28, 2014

The Davao del Norte Penal Colony and Farm (DAPECOL) has zero-escape record since September last year until todate, bared Dapecol prison superintendent Gerardo Padilla in an interview.

“Those inmates who escaped before are serving minimum sentence and are working in Tadeco farm. Mostly those who escaped were having family problems. But of the 13 who escaped last year, 7 were already recaptured, one of whom was fatally shot during our hot pursuit operations,” he said.

Minimum-status inmates are those who have already served half of their sentence. On maximum security status are those with sentence above 20 years, while on medium security status are those with sentence 20 years below.

“Since we implemented our stricter security measures, we now have a zero-escape record,” Padilla said.

Escapes were usually made individually by inmates who managed to stealthily sneak through the guards’ watch while working in the banana farm. The escape would only be known during body count after a whole day’s work.

There are 850 qualified inmates working in Tadeco’s banana production and are earning a minimum of P276 per day while they are serving their sentence.

Those admitted to work in Tadeco have been chosen based on their good behavior and duration of sentence served, which should be at least one half of the sentence for minimum-status inmates and at least one third of the sentence for medium-status inmates.

The 5,308 hectares of land owned by Dapecol surrounding its 118-hectare compound has been on joint venture for banana production between the Dept. of Justice and the largest Tadeco banana company since 1969. Dapecol was founded on January 21, 1932.

Meanwhile, the expansion of Dapecol hospital is going on through the P2.5-million funding assistance of the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC).

The expansion includes adding more than 70 beds for Dapecol’s Hospital B, which caters to a mix of inmates- those serving minimum, medium and maximum sentences.

An additional ward for inmates having tuberculosis (TB) is also being made, superintendent Padilla said, noting that the facility can boost treatment of the increasing number of inmates having TB whom he said contracted the disease while the inmates were still imprisoned in congested provincial jails.

Dapecol has also Hospital A located in maximum compound, which serves as a quarantine for the sick maximum inmates and for the new arrivals from provincial jails.

As of Wednesday, Hospital A and Hospital B have 90 and 30 patient-inmates, respectively. The hospitals are staffed by one physician, two dentists, five nurses and 30 volunteer nurses who want to earn work experience.

On the same day, Dapecol has an inmate population of 6,468 distributed as follows: 1,422 maximum, 3,526 medium, 994 minimum and 218 at Reception Diagnostic Center (RDC) or the newly committed inmates from provincial jails.

As a national penitentiary, Dapecol accommodates only those inmates serving a sentence of 3 years and 1 day above.(Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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