Immigration revamps staff at detention center, surprise inspection yields cache of contraband

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DAVAO CITY (April 1) — Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente announced the revamp of the BI Warden Facility Protection Unit (BIWFPU) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, after the surprise inspection which yielded contraband.

In a statement, the BI said the surprise inspection was conducted after they received reports that a number of detainees have been conducting some sort of online business inside the facility.

Morente said “The gadgets in question were submitted for forensic examination.”

The revamp was immediately ordered following the random inspection last March 25 headed by Intelligence Officer Melody Penelope Gonzales with the assistance of operatives from the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, yielded numerous items illegally kept inside the ward’s sleeping quarters.

Gonzales revealed each ward is only allowed to keep P5,000, but during the inspection, almost P100,000 excess money was found.

The detainee’s belongings “Were accounted for, and we asked them to wrap their money in paper, seal it and sign it. They were likewise given acknowledgement receipts, as these will be returned to them upon implementation of their deportation,” she added.

Gonzales also reported that other prohibited items were found inside the facility, like laptops, chargers, speakers, tablets, cellular phones, DVD players, power banks, casino chips, carpentry tools, cigarettes, lighters, knives, carpentry tools, and pirated DVDs were among those that were temporarily confiscated from them,” she said.

Six laptops, 1 tablet, and 23 cellular phones were submitted for forensic examination of its contents following reports of illegal activities conducted by wards. 

Morente immediately ordered the relief of BI WFPU head Niño Oliver Dato upon receipt of the inspection report. “We conducted a shakedown last January 22, but it seems as if things have gotten worse,” said Morente.

“These activities will not be tolerated,” said Morente.

The BIWF currently houses 212 foreign nationals awaiting deportation.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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