Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ecija mayor says inmates, garbage welcome in town, but not jueteng

GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija – Mayor Virgilio Bote of this municipality where a P50.2-billion regional prison facility (RPF) will be built to accommodate 26,000 prisoners from the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW), said the inmates, including hardened criminals are most welcome – even garbage – but not jueteng operators.

          “Gen. Tinio is opening its doors wide to prisoners and garbage. But we are closing our doors to jueteng,” Bote said, claiming that among the 27 municipalities in the province, it was only this town which can lay claim to the distinction of being jueteng-free and illegal logging-free.

          He said the possible transfer of prisoners has not created a fear factor in the town.

          Bote said the prison facility project is a very rare opportunity to pass up for the town although this has been opposed in Tanay, Rizal. “Out of 1,500 towns, we were chosen to be the site of the RPF so why not?” he said.

“Sa dami ba naman ng bayan, ikaw ang pinili tapos kokontrahin mo? (Of so many towns you were chosen and yet you would oppose),” he said, apparently referring to the municipal leadership of Tanay.

In 2006, President Aquino’s predecessor, then-president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 568 authorizing the transfer of the NBP to a 272-hectare reservation in Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay. But this was shot down due to opposition from the local leadership.

Bote said the prison facility is expected to further trigger the economic and tourism boom being experienced by Gen. Tinio which is in the process of establishing two giant dams and a two-megawatt power plant.

He said he is also not opposed if the sanitary landfill project pushes through as long as the project site is remote and not inhabited.

He said that the town, which has the biggest organic papaya plantation in the country spanning 135 hectares, is also set to put up between 5,000 to 10,000 agricultural plantation in the mountains.  

The creation of the RPF is expected to generate at least 53,800 jobs to Novo Ecijanos.

          The two-storey new facility will be constructed under the build-transfer-maintain structure at a 500-hectare area in Barangay Nazareth inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation.

          The 551-hectare NBP in Muntinlupa , which opened in 1940, is now heavily congested as it houses 14,500 prisoners in its maximum security detention area alone although it was programmed to accommodate only 8,400 inmates. All in all, the NBP houses around 20,000 inmates. (Manny Galvez)

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