Life inside the Philippines’ most overcrowded jail


In an unassuming Quezon City neighbourhood, across from a municipal library and around the corner from a police station stands the local jail.

A short ride from Manila — depending on traffic — the jail isn’t an imposing building, or even a particularly large one. Its total floor area is a shade over 30,000 square feet.More than 4,000 inmates — and counting — live cheek by jowl in what has to be one of the most densely populated corners of the Philippines.

It’s always been packed, guards say, but recently the number of inmates has spiked.
Critics say this overcrowding is a predictable effect of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs — a crackdown the pugnacious new leader promised in the campaign that propelled him into office.
Conditions inside are astounding. Every available space is crammed with yellow T-shirted humanity. The men here — and almost 60% are in for drug offenses — spend the days sitting, squatting and standing in the unrelenting, suffocating Manila heat.