Special populations

Female prisoners

8.9 % (12,658)

Women are held in different facilities.
The only prison facility intended for women serving sentences is the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong. It is overpopulated, housing 2,273 prisoners in space meant for 1,500 in April 2015. “Individual” cells contain four beds. Common areas, such as the common room and the cafeteria have been converted into dormitories 1.
The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) houses women in 459 prison facilities.

  1. “The Correctional Institution for Women” in “Rappler, 17 April 2015. 

  • In 2013, over 90% of the women are incarcerated for non-violent crimes, most often connected to drugs (51.8%) or property (35%). Sixty-one percent of the women are between 40 and 59 years old. Most of them are educated: 40% have a university degree, 30% have completed secondary-school studies. Only 15% are unemployed.

There is an effective separation between men and women


The prison staff is

female and male

Women prisoners must be separated from men, and prisons housing both men and women prisoners must have guards of both sexes. This practice is not being adhered to. There is an insufficient number of personnel.

Childbirth takes place in

outside care facilities

Women must be sent to the nearest clinic.

The law bans the imprisonment of minors


Minimum age of imprisonment for minors

15 years old

Law Juvenile Welfare Act 2006

President Duterte supports a bill that would lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to nine years old. His goal is to fight drug trafficking by locking up children who are used as “mules.” Passing such a law could lead to an increase in the number of extrajudicial executions of children[^children].

Incarcerated minors

0.4 %


Ministry in charge of incarcerated minors

Ministry of Social Welfare and Development

Le Conseil de la justice et de la protection sociale des mineurs (Juvenile and Justice Welfare Council) travaille à la réinsertion des mineurs en conflit avec la justice.

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare act 2006 provided non-custodial sentences for minors:

  • written or oral apology
  • restitution of property
  • reparation of the damage caused
  • indemnification of consequential damages
  • care, guidance and supervision orders
  • confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds or instruments of the crime
  • fine
  • payment of costs of the proceedings
  • written or oral reprimand or citation
  • counselling
  • attendance in seminars on: anger management; conflict resolution; values formation; etc.
  • community service
  • participation in education, vocation or life skills programmes
  • institutional care or custody 1

The government claims to want to improve protections for minors. It is developing intervention programs for minors aged 12 to15 who commit serious crimes. Homes for youths, called “Bahay Pag-Asa” (Houses of Hope) are being built to house children who have been in conflict with the law.

  1. Alberto Muyot (Unicef Philippines), in International Juvenile Justice Observatory 

The law provides for single cell accommodation for minors


Branches specializing in justice for minors have been organized. However, the CHR reports that there is a shortage of personnel dedicated to children.

Les mineurs arrêtés proviennent souvent de la rue, indique, en avril 2016, le Comité des Nations unies contre la torture. Ils subissent des mauvais traitements. Ils sont interrogés hors de la présence d’un tuteur ou d’un avocat.

Number and percentage of foreign prisoners

0.4 % (589)
/ ICPR via Thai Criminology

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) publishes statistics on the number of foreigners held in these facilities. In September 2015, they number 325. Chinese prisoners make up the large majority at 117. Then, Americans (29), Koreans (21) and Nigerians (20). Most of them—119 foreign prisoners, including 105 Chinese—are incarcerated in the region’s capital.
Neither the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) nor the Philippine National Police (PNP) publish these statistics. Therefore, no statistics are available concerning national prison facilities or police stations.

Percentage of untried prisoners

68 %

/ Committee against torture

Contesting pre-trial detention is almost impossible.

Most political prisoners are being held in pre-trial detention. They are housed with other prisoners and in the same conditions.The organisations endeavour to defend political prisoners charged with common crimes. The government and human rights organisations do not share the same definition of political prisoner. The authorities fabricate evidence. They sometimes keep people imprisoned beyond the length of their sentence.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) list 1,326 political prisoners at the end of 2015. In most cases, these are prisoners accused of crimes against national security. To this list, the BJMP adds those prisoners with high-risk profiles, who are accused of crimes linked to political opinion. These people are incarcerated in a special maximum security section. They belong to political groups, often armed, who oppose the government: The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front (NDF) the Moro Islamic Front for National Liberation (MILF), the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and other extreme-right and extreme-left groups.

  • From 3-10 December 2016, activists organise a fast of solidarity in which prisoners and militants take part in support of the 401 political prisoners taken into custody on 31 October 2016: activists accused of belonging to rebel groups and who are being held under false charges. They were arrested in the context of the Communist army rebellion. In theory, the government has agreed to their release, but they remain in prison. Judicial processes are slow and more importantly, political statements are inconsistent.

Death penalty is abolished

yes, since 2006

President Rodgrigo Duterte, elected on May 9, 2016, hopes to re-establish it. During his presidential campaign, he announces his intention to put an end to drug trafficking by shooting down tens of thousands of people.

On January 31, 2017, Amnesty International published a report on the high number of summary executions commited by order of the government. Police officers and even private citizens are authorised to kill anyone suspected of selling or using drugs. Official statistics count 2,551 deaths at the hands of the police and nearly 4,000 deaths occurring in unexplained circumstances since Duterte came into power.

Victims are usually defenceless. They are shot down even as they are surrendering. Some are children. Third parties denounce them and no investigation takes place before their execution. The police fabricate evidence, rob victims and write false incident reports. They recruit paid assassins to carry out executions.

Amnesty International has denounced a possible crime against humanity: a war against the poor, who are systematically targeted. Amnesty International describes an “economy of murder.” Police officers are paid per confrontation, secretly and in cash, with a price for each person implicated. They receive no bonus for arrests.

  • Gener Rondina’s relatives tell the story of his assassination. A large group of police officers entered his house. He stated that he was ready to turn himself in and asked them to spare his life. The officers made all the witnesses leave the room. From outside, they heard shots and then watched as the police officers took his body away. Inside the house, there was blood everywhere. Items of value (computer, watch, cash) had disappeared and were not included in the inventory of possessions drawn up by the police.