Filipino prisoners protest on the roof of the prison over food, guards

Manila, Philippines — About 100 inmates in an overcrowded prison climbed to the top of a prison building in the central Philippines and protested loudly by raising fists and banners, saying they were not getting enough to eat and love. requested the removal of the warden, who was immediately suspended. officials said Thursday.

The inmates were peacefully dispersed after Wednesday morning’s protest and were returned to their cells in the provincial prison complex in Pototan town, Iloilo province, where they will face an investigation. investigation and possible disciplinary action, officials said.

Photos of the rare demonstration of inmates, who gathered on the roof of a building opposite the prison gate, where some journalists gathered later, were posted on Facebook and quickly attracted attention. attention in a country that has some of the most crowded prisons in the world. One of their banners read: “We’re hungry, the guards are out.”

“They really get the attention,” Bureau of Prisons and Penology Administration spokesman Xavier Solda told The Associated Press, adding that the prisoners, including those suspected of being communist guerillas and criminals drugs, sneaked out for morning prayers and exercise in the sun and used a ledge to climb onto the roof in a secretly planned protest act.

A handwritten letter thrown by inmates accuses prison authorities of serving them inadequate meals and seizing food brought in by relatives to force them to buy meals at a prison food shop . Glass shards were found in the rice rations at one point and the rotten fish was served at another time, the note said. But prison officials denied the allegations appeared in the local news, saying inmates were served three proper meals a day and no complaints were made until the prison responded. opposite to.

Solda said a standard budget of 70 pesos ($1.25) is allocated for the daily meals of each of the more than 1,100 inmates in Iloilo prison, including the cost of cooking gas, and added. that officials are always looking for ways to improve conditions in nearly 500 prisons across the country.

“We’re not going to dismiss their concerns just because they’re PDL,” said Solda, using the acronym for “those deprived of liberty” to refer to inmates. “If their concern is food, then we’ll definitely look into the matter and if there’s a problem, we’ll find a solution.”

The prison manager the inmates complained about has been temporarily released for investigation and replaced with an officer who recently won an award as one of the country’s best prison administrators and will accepted by the prisoners, he said.

Some inmates have protested moving to a new and larger prison building, where the protest is taking place on the roof, from an old and congested detention facility apparently due to stricter security, Solda said. .

Prisons in the Philippines are currently crammed to almost four times their capacity with a congestion rate of 390%, which is an improvement from more than 600% some years ago, he said, adding that the prisons officials are continuing a program of building more detention facilities to ease congestion.

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