By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA — The Special Action Force (SAF) contingent deployed to secure the maximum-security compound at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, was replaced on Tuesday amid the ongoing reform programs of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
A formal ceremony for the changing of guards was held at the BuCor Parade Grounds, NBP Reservation in Muntinlupa City on Tuesday afternoon, which was attended by Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), SAF Director, Maj. Gen. Amando Clifton Empiso, and BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag.
Eleazar said a company-size SAF commando, or around 70 policemen, was added to the 551 policemen he sent last week as augmentation force at the NBP.
A total of three companies of SAF personnel were earlier deployed at the NBP to guard its maximum detention facility. The deployment of SAF was ordered by then PNP Chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa after reports that convicted drug lords continue with their illegal activities even inside the prison cell with the help of corrupt prison guards.
The rotation of the SAF as prison guards was supposed to be every six months. However, this was not followed due to the series of training programs and deployment of SAF personnel to various conflict-affected areas in the country.
“Ang maganda dito ay tugma ito (rotation) sa gustong mangyari ni Director-General Bantag na magkaroon ng fresh start para (sa) NBP (This is in line with what Dir. Gen. Bantag wanted – – to have a fresh start at the NBP), ” Eleazar said.
“Basically, ang role ng mga ito (ay) magbantay. Hindi naman sila dealing with prisoners (Basically, their role is to secure the NBP, they don’t deal with prisoners),” he said. (PNA)