Mondejar, meanwhile, saw nothing wrong withthe use of signal jammers at the IDJ. He said these devices in fact enhance thesecurity measures at the prison facility./PN ILOILO – “Last resort.” This was howSuperintendent Gilbert Peremne, assistant regional director for administrationof the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), described his office’sdecision to install cellphone signal jammers at the Iloilo District Jail (IDJ)in Barangay Nanga, Pototan town. Six signal jammers were installed at the IDJin June to prevent inmates with mobile phones from making outside transactionssuch as trafficking illegal drugs. This Nov. 19 the SP committees on Public Orderand Security, Transportation and Communication and Public Utilities will beconducting an ocular inspection at the IDJ. Representatives from the NationalTelecommunications Commission Region 6 would be joining the inspection, too.The focus would be the range or coverage of the signal jammers. “In the event the inspection would show thatthe coverage is over 20 meters, the SP could issue a resolution calling for itto be scaled down to only within the IDJ vicinity para indi maka-apekto sa mga residents sang Barangay Nanga,” said Mondejar. BJMP tried everything to stop the smuggling ofcontrabands such as illegal drugs and mobile phones into the prison facility,he said, such as inspecting jail visitors and the things they bring inside. For his part, Palabrica urged the localoffices of concerned government agencies – National TelecommunicationsCommission, Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, andBJMP – to draw up a plan to secure the IDJ but at the same time relieveBarangay Nanga residents of the inconvenience caused by the signal jammers. “This matter has serious implications on theeconomic and social life of residents in this barangay. They cannot optimizetheir livelihood activities or stay in contact with families and relativeselsewhere. Life nowadays is so dependent on cellular communications,” Palabricastressed. According to SP member June Mondejar,chairperson of the Committee on Public Order and Security, the inspectionshould settle the matter. “Residents within the 300-meter radius of thefacility cannot send text messages or make phone calls or use the internetadequately. The main center of the barangay which is 100 meters away isseverely affected, too. Official communication to other government agencies,especially in emergency situations, cannot be conducted 24/7,” lamentedPalabrica. Peremne clarified that the BJMP nationalheadquarters is in fact requiring all jails with over 1,000 inmate-populationto have phone signal jammers. Last week, Palabrica said the signal jammerswere inconveniencing Barangay Nanga residents living nearby. Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) member MattPalabrica, however, slammed the move as a cover-up to the incompetence of jailguards to secure the prison facility. Signal jammers are not the answer to thenagging issue of drug or contraband control and apprehension, added Palabrica. Iloilo District Jail (IDJ) in Barangay Nanga, Pototan town. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN The IDJ, designed to accommodate some 2,000inmates, currently has a population of 1,529, said Peremne. Peremne, however, insisted that the IDJ signaljamming devices have a radial coverage of 20 meters at the most. “The answer lies in the integrity andcompetence of the leadership and personnel of the BJMP,” he said.