THE Baguio City Council has approved on first reading an ordinance that would mandate COVID-19 reverse transcriptase – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab tests for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) entering or leaving Baguio’s male and female city jail dormitories.
The ordinance would be in compliance with existing health and safety protocols put in place by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Once implemented, the swab test will be added to existing medical examination procedures as required by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and will be conducted by trained jail-employed nurses or Department of Health (DOH) personnel.
PDLs awaiting swab test results will remain detained in the detention facility, and be relocated to a COVID-19 isolation facility upon positive test result under the supervision of local law enforcement, or be committed and jailed alongside other COVID-19 negative PDLs.
The swab test will also be mandated prior to the release of a PDL, where a positive result will see the individual released into an isolation facility in their barangay, whereas a negative result will see the individual released back into their barangay of residence.
RT-PCR test kits used for the mandatory swabs will not come out of the BJMP’s budget, rather, the local government and the DOH shall provide kits should the ordinance be approved and implemented.