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Manila inmates suffer from severe skin disease

A detainee from the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 9 was rushed to the hospital Monday morning after he complained of fever believed to be caused by a severe skin disease on his right foot.

According to PO1 Novilinda Angiw, one of the police officers who brought the inmate to the Philippine General Hospital, the detainee has previously been diagnosed with Cellulitis, a bacterial infection.

“Parang pumutok (ang sugat nya). Open wound kumbaga sa longanisa ganun yung pagputok. Kita mo talaga na in pain yung tao. Nakikita na rin yung laman niya,” said Angiw.

The case of the inmate raises to seven the number of MPD Station 9 detainees who were recently brought to hospitals due to skin diseases.

Based on police records, Cellulitis is the most common case.

Police Chief Inspector Cenon Vargas, Jr., chief of investigation in MPD Station 9, admits congestion of inmates in the precinct.

About 100 inmates are crammed in the jail facility designed for only 45 to 60 persons.

Vargas, however, insists the situation is “controllable” and that the station prioritizes the detainees’ health.

Police officers themselves are sometimes tasked to clean the inmates’ wounds, according to Vargas.

“Yung sanitation program po, regularly ginagawa po natin yan. Bago natin idala dun sa nearest hospital, yan yung paglilinis ng sugat kahit papaano madisinfect,” Vargas said.

In some cases, the detainees themselves allegedly refuse to declare having conditions that require medical attention. This poses as a challenge in preventing the worsening of skin diseases among detainees according to Vargas.

“Mahirap pong hulaan kung ano yung eksaktong nararamdaman nila,” he said.

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, alias “Fredo”, a former MPD Station 9 inmate and currently detained in the Manila City Jail, blames the poor condition of the police facility for his predicament.

Diagnosed with Cellulitis, “Fredo” has deep and wide circular wounds on his back. His right leg is covered with scabs and oozing with pus. Seated on a wheelchair as he can barely stand, he tells GMA News, “hirap na hirap na rin po ako. Nakuha ko po lahat ito sa (MPD) Station. Kung hindi dahil sa kanila hindi kami magkakaganito.”

A commitment order for “Fredo” shows he was transferred to Manila City Jail (MCJ) on July 05, 2018 after being under the custody of MPD Station 9 since June.

Transferred also to MCJ from MPD Station 9 on the same day was inmate Gerry Baluran who suffered from Necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria.

Photos given to GMA News show Baluran’s large and blackened wounds on his knees, legs, and back.

On Sunday night, Baluran was rushed to the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center after he was found unconscious. At 12:01 Monday morning, Baluran was declared dead. The cause of death was “undetermined.”

An MCJ spokesperson told GMA News Baluran and “Fredo” were never sent to their respective cells but instead brought immediately to the infirmary.

“Hindi na po sila hinalo sa ibang inmate kasi nga po iniiwasan din natin na makahawa sila,” said MCJ spokesperson Jail Senior Inspector Jayrex Bustinera.

PCI Vargas of MPD Station 9 says he is not in the position to conclude whether or not Baluran and “Fredo” contracted the bacteria while inside police facilities. — BAP, GMA News