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  • Margieth Gayagay

Swab testing of Baguio inmates before detention and release from prison proposed

Baguio City, Philippines – Mandatory swab testing for inmates before detention or release from prison is now being proposed in Baguio City to protect the health and safety of the inmates and the public.

The ordinance mandating persons deprived of liberty (PDL) to undergo Covid-19 swab testing before commitment or release from the Baguio City Jail-Male and Female Dorms was filed by Councilor Francisco Roberto Ortega VI.

The ordinance states that swab test kits shall be sourced out from the Department of Health- Cordillera (DOH-CAR) or from the City Health Services Office (CHSO).

For individuals committed to the correctional facility

Under the said ordinance, after commitment order is issued, the inmate shall be swab tested either at the city jail, Department of Health-CAR, or Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC).

Additionally, the ordinance states that individuals “committed to the correctional facility” should follow certain guidelines, such as detaining the PDL at the designated detention facility as assigned by the committing law enforcement agency until the result of the swab test is released.

In case the PDL tested positive for COVID-19, they shall be placed in a designated quarantine facility in the city for isolation and treatment.

If BGHMC Molecular Laboratory clears the PDL from COVID-19, they shall enter their designated detention cells.

For inmates due for release from the correctional facility

If inmates due for release from the correctional facility tested positive, they shall be placed in the designated barangay isolation center of the barangay where they reside, as indicated in the official records of isolation and treatment.

If the swab test result is negative, the inmates shall immediately be released to the community with prior notice of the concerned barangay captain.

For further review, the proposed ordinance was endorsed to the Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology, and Environmental Protection.

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