Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

Described by the Asian media as one of the world's most congested jails, Philippines state auditors reported that Philippines jails are overpopulated by 511 per cent as the number of inmates rose to 126,946 where as the standard jail capacity was only 20,746 inmates.

The Commission on Audit (COA) reported that their findings cover all jails in the country that include district jails, municipal jails, extension jails and female dormitories.

Given this state, auditors disclosed that the overpopulation of jails violates the BJMPs guidance manual on Habitat, Water, Sanitation and Kitchen in Jails and the Standard Rules for Prisoners' Treatment of the United Nations.

The standard practice of jails is it should provide 4.7 square meters per inmate and the standard number of inmates per cell should be 10.

"Health and sanitation problems are increasing in Philippines jails and this will encourage inmates to join gangs in prison cells for protection purposes and these are common in congested prison cells in the country," the audit body reported.

Drug-related cases contributed so much to the growing congestions of jails in the Philippines and the slow juridicial process of Philippines courts, according to state auditors.

This can also be attributed to the lack of judges, slow disposition of criminal cases, and the postponement of court hearings

While conducting their audit, the auditors also noted that a number of inmates were detained because most of them belong to poverty-stricken families that could not afford to post bail.

The Philippines was reported to have 4 million drug users and traders and Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte launched a campaign dubbed as "tokhang" to stop drug peddling in the country.

"Tokhang" means we will knock your door in the local dialect. The campaign allows Philippines police authorities to go around residential houses with suspected drug dealers and warn them to stop peddling drugs. Those who continued to sell drugs despite warning by the police authorities are being shot by unidentified vigilantes riding in tandem motorcycles.

Since Duterte became president, there have been 3,000 suspected drug users and traders who were killed on the streets by still unidentified assailants. Critics of the president accused him of having knowledge of the on-going extra judicial killings in the Philippines.