MANILA, Philippines – Riding a Special Action Force (SAF) armored vehicle, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag led the demolition of shanties inside the New Bilibid Prison on Wednesday, October 9.
Metro Manila police chief Guillermo Eleazar was with Bantag during the operation.
Bantag said "hindi mo mabilang (you cannot count)" the number of illegally-built shanties that were demolished during Wednesday's operation.
"Diyan sila nagtatago kapag gumagamit ng cellphones, hindi mo na makita. Ngayon kapag may intel kang na-receive diyan, gusto mong pasukin nang mabilisan, [pero] dahil meron silang sariling lock diyan, wala na, bago ka makarating sa kontrabando kung nasaan man 'yun, napigilan ka na, natago na, naipasa na, kaya 'yun, giniba natin," Bantag said.
(They hide there if they're using their cellphones so you can't see them. If you receive intel, you want to be able to go inside and catch them quickly, but because they have their own locks, before you could get there they've already stopped you, or they've already hidden or passed it on, so we destroyed it.)
Asked about the prisoners' reaction, Bantag said it does not matter to him.
"Hindi naman natin iniintindi 'yung galit nila kasi wala naman silang karapatan, pribilehiyo lang 'yan na inabuso," Bantag said.
Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler