The New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City – also known as the National Bilibid Prison – The main and famous prison camp in the Philippines. This is one of the seven insular correctional facilities in the country. It has a total land area of 551 hectares.
The New Bilibid Prison is operated and maintained by various Philippine government agencies, particularly, Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the collaboration of some non-government organizations (NGO’s) like the Jesuit Prison Ministry and many religious organizations.
The Old Bilibid Prison
The original Bilibid prison was in the Mayhaligue Estate in Oroquieta Street Sta. Cruz, Manila. It was built by the Spanish authorities in 1847 for the Filipinos. The establishment of the Bilibid was coming from the office of the Gobernador General in accordance with section 1708 of the Revised Administrative Code. It was then formally opened by a royal decree in 1865. The Bilibid was called the ‘Carcel y Presidio Correcional. It has two main buildings. It accommodated more than 1000 prisoners.
During the American colonial rule, a 200 bed capacity hospital was built alongside with carpentry for woodworks. This made the Bilibid prison a bit larger.
However, during the Commonwealth era under Pres. Manuel Luis Quezon, there was a growing number of people in the city increased significantly due to the influx of the people from the countryside. The rapid increase in population who were not able to find their luck had resulted to unlawful activities while others opted to engage in illegal activities. This created a boom in the prison population in the Bilibid prison which laid down for the creation and implementation of Commonwealth Act No. 67 ordering the construction of a new national prison facility in Muntinlupa City to replace the old Bilibid prison.
The New Bilibid Prison
The construction of the new Bilibid prison compound started in 1935 with a budget of 1,000,000 Philippine pesos. On November 15, 1940, all prisoners incarcerated in the old Bilibid compound were transferred to the new prison facility in Muntinlupa City. On the following year, January 22, 1941, the New Bilibid prison was inaugurated. At that time, new penitentiary can accommodate up to 3,000 prisoners
Major Eriberto Misa is one of the famous NBP Director serving from 1937 to 1949. The notable inmates includes Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashsita (commander of the Japanese Imperial Army), Emilio Changco (leader of the infamous gang in the 80’s), Amado Hernandez (National Artist for Literature), Jovito Salonga (imprisoned during the Japanese occupation), Claudio Teehankee Jr. (son of former Chief Justice), Bingbong Crisologo, Hubert Webb (son of Former Senator Freddie Webb), Robin Padilla (Movie Actor), Romeo Jalosjos (Congressman), Sanchez (Mayor), Rolito Go, Antonio Leviste (Congressman), On October 2004, the New Bilibid Prison had total inmates of 16,747.
The NBP compound includes, The Director’s quarter/office, the Administration building, the food and supply, the transport and security, Museum (used to be the lethal injection chamber) the three main camps (Maximum, Medium and Minimum), the Halfway house (for those who are preparing for their exit in the camp having serve their sentence).
Pres. Corazon C. Aquino, on December 15, 1992 through the P.D. 792 declared 104 hectares of land in the NBP to be developed as housing for the employees of the Department of Justices and other government agencies serving in the New Bilibid Penitentiary. This housing project is now called the Katarungan Village 1 & 2.
The NBP Reservation also includes civilians and employees residing in Type A, B and C housing unit, Katarungan Village (1 & 2), Muntinlupa (Itaas) Elementary School and its Annex in NHA -Southville 3, Muntinlupa National High School (MNHS) and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa (PLMun).
The New Bilibid Prison Security Camps
The New Bilibid Prison is divided into three major security camps: The Maximum security, Medium security and the Minimum Security together with the Reception and Diagnostic Center (RDC).
In the Maximum security camp, there are 12 buildings (also called brigada) as the prisoner’s sleeping quarters. In this camp, the Death row building can also be found. It is located in the center of the camp. There are also different religious chapels and prayer quarters inside to tend the spiritual needs of the prisoners.
In the Medium Security Camp also known as Camp Sampaguita. There are dormitories (brigadas) in this camp. The prisoners can see the people outside and has a wider place to roam around. There is a school for secondary and a tertiary level.
This camp also includes the Reception and Diagnostic Center (RDC) where all incoming prisoner has to pass in this center and traditionally get a prison haircut and check-up.
In the Minimum Security Camp which is also called Camp Bukang Liwayway. Most of the people here have already long been serving their sentence. Some are just counting months and now preparing for their re-integration in the society. They are allowed to go out of their camp and do some cleaning, farming and other menial work. Usually, they are the inmates who can interact with the civilians.
There is no perfect human society. Conflict or crime may happen anytime. Thus, there is always a need to ensure the protection of one’s life and property. The best way to protect one’s life and property is to ensure that the law is implemented and the violators are apprehended. The proper place for violators whose offense is grave and detrimental to social order and peaceful existence is the penitentiary or the prison camp.
The cry of the NBP people is Bilanguan Man ay Paraiso sa patakarang Maka-Diyos at Maka-Tao”.