By Benjamin Pulta

BuCor Director General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang (File photo)

MANILA – The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Tuesday said at least 46 Muslim persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) have been released from prison since Ramadan started on March 10.

This, BuCor Director General Gregorio Pio Catapang said in a statement Tuesday, brought to 754 the total number of Muslim PDLs given freedom under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Catapang said there are about 3,014 Muslim PDLs in various operating prisons and penal farms (OPPF) as of Feb. 29, 2024, or 5.69 percent out of 52,950 total Bucor inmate population throughout the country.

Presidential Adviser on Muslim Affairs Almarin Centi Tilla met with Catapang last week to check the condition of Muslim PDLs in different operating prisons and penal farms of the bureau.

Catapang said of the 3,014 Muslim PDLs, 1,121 are confined at the New Bilibid Prison, 752 at Davao Prison and Penal Farm, 698 at San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, 202 at Correctional Institution for Women, 144 at Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, 81 at Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm, and 16 at the Leyte Regional Prison.

“Like any other PDLs, Muslims are allowed to practice their faith even inside the correction facilities. Our Muslim brothers are not left behind,” he said.

Catapang said the Board of Pardons and Parole has recommended another 23 Muslim PDLs for executive clemency as of April 3.

Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, will end on April 10 which was declared by President Marcos a regular holiday “in observance of Eid’l Fitr (Feast of Ramadan).” (PNA)