An estimated 5,200 inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) die annually due to overcrowding, disease and violence said prison hospital medical chief Ernesto Tamayo, speaking at a recent Senate hearing. Tamayo added the overcrowding had led to unmanageable outbreaks of pulmonary tuberculosis.
One in five detainees at the Philippines’ national penitentiary die every year, officials at the prison hospital have revealed.
The NBP, located in Muntinlupa City outside the capital Manila, has been embroiled in scandals for months. The Senate hearing was just the latest development in an ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption at the Bureau of Corrections, CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported.
The high number of deaths is shocking — but not exactly a new problem. Other prisons around the country are facing similar problems; when CNN visited a Quezon City jail in 2016, more than 4,000 inmates were living cheek by jowl in one of the most densely populated corners of the Philippines.
Conditions were terrible, with the inmates crammed together into crumbling, ramshackle cells. There’s barely space for them to sleep — one room held 85 inmates in a 200-square foot space. Another one, bigger but not by much, held 131. It was designed for 30.
This situation makes it an ideal spreading ground for communicable diseases to ravage through the huddled inmate population. (Source: CNN Philippines)