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Monday, October 23, 2017

Scottish national begs Duterte to visit Bicutan Detention Center again


Netizen with a name Lourdes de las Cagigas posted an open letter addressed to President Duterte written by Sherry Zimmer, a foreign woman who lived in the Philippines for 13 years on Sunday, Oct. 22.



In her letter, Zimmer apologized to the President for contacting him in this manner. She wrote it for the reason that she wants Duterte to know the horrible condition of the detention center run by the Bureau of Immigration in Camp Bagong Diwa.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, Duterte was able to visit the jails run by the BJMP in Camp Bagong Diwa. However, Zimmer believed that Duterte was not made aware of the fact that the said detention center run by the Bureau of Immigration exists for she expected for the President to go ballistic if he saw the situation of the detained foreigners.



Because of this, she appealed to Duterte through her open letter to visit once again the said camp.

According to Zimmer, it houses 174 men and an equal amount of women. - many of them have no charges, no court, no fiscal and no hearing. The majority are retired pensioners, senior citizens from all over the world, some are even natural born Filipinos with dual citizenship.

Zimmer also added that the foreign detainees have families, are married to Filipinos with children born in the Philippines. Some are even detained on trumped up charges because they know too much, even witnessed some of the corruption within the government. 

The Scottish national thought that the foreigners were put into detention to silence them - to be forgotten. However, Zimmer believed that should not be the case because it must be a temporary holding area for over staying or illegal aliens yet, some of them have been there for more than 6 years - with no good end in sight.

Zimmer said that the detention center’s conditions are deplorable, overcrowded, rats roam freely as the facility’s sewage is open in their tick infested quarters. The detainees, on the other hand, are fed food that is barely enough for a child, with absolutely no concern for religious or dietary restrictions and they also have to pay for their own drinking water or be doomed to drink from the faucet.

Because of the horrible condition of the said detention center, Zimmer noted that the foreign detainees chose to be deported and be torn apart from their families rather than stay in this inhuman facility.


Moreover, Zimmer accused the Bureau of Immigration during the Aquino administration of extortion for victimizing these foreign detainees. 

In her full Facebook post, Zimmer said,

From Sherry Zimmer

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. DUTERTE,


Forgive me for contacting you in this manner. I am a foreign woman who lived in the Philippines for 13 years and have a love for the people and the place. I have watched, with great interest and admiration, your Presidency. You have given so much hope to everyone, particularly the poor, the disadvantaged, and those who wish more for the Philippines. Only you can do it. Recently I did the research on who mounted an email campaign against Mayor Benjamin C. De Guzman, who was used by Fr. Shay Cullen to propel himself onto the European stage. This was the first mention of the Davao Death Squads in Europe. My FB post of what and who the players are, and substantiating documents have been read by thousands of Filipinos both in the Philippines and abroad.


I have laughed when you have cursed, clapped when Mayor Sara Duterte knocked the hell out of a man who would not give her the two hours delay she wanted, so the people could save their few belongings, before their homes were demolished. I have also cried when I have seen you hold the wives of slain soldiers. I admired you when you went public with the fact that you were abused by an American Jesuit. It could be said that I am your biggest non-Filipino fan.


I waited, in anticipation, when on October 19th, you visited the jails run by the BJMP at Camp Bagong Diwa. I knew in my heart that you would see the conditions of the foreigners held in the Detention Center and start cursing again. It did not happen and I can only think that you were not made aware of the fact that it exists. A man of your compassion and sense of fairness would have gone ballistic.

The DETENTION CENTER is run by the Bureau of Immigration. At present, it houses 174 men and an equal amount of women. Many of them have NO CHARGES, NO COURT, NO FISCAL and NO HEARING. The majority are retired pensioners, senior citizens from all over the world. Some are even NATURAL BORN FILIPINOS with dual citizenship. These detainees have families, are married to Filipinos with children born in the Philippines. Some are even detained on trumped up charges because they know too much, even witnessed some of the corruption within the government. It would appear their detention is only to silence them - to be forgotten. As a former prosecutor and attorney, I know you will be enraged. The Detention Center is supposed to be a temporary holding area for over staying or illegal aliens yet, some of them have been there for more than 6 years - with no good end in sight.

Their conditions are deplorable, overcrowded, rats roam freely as the facility’s sewage is open in their tick infested quarters. They are fed food that is barely enough for a child, with absolutely no concern for religious or dietary restrictions. They have to pay for their own drinking water or be doomed to drink from the faucet.


I have personally sent funds for medicines for some of these detainees as their own Embassies do nothing for them. The Commission on Human Rights is a waste of time and budget. They talk big but do nothing. The CBCP has not even sent or assigned a priest to serve Mass.

Thousands have passed through this facility; some have taken voluntary deportation because they could no longer bear the horrific hardships they had to endure. These men are now torn apart from their Filipino families. Many of them hold on to the fact that they will fight this, as they are innocent of any crime and hopefully will triumph and be reunited with their loved ones.

I do understand the enormous pressure you are under and eliminating corruption is a great challenge, but many of these detainees are victims of an extortion racket of the Bureau of Immigration perfected during the Aquino administration by then Sec. Leila DeLima of the Department of Justice.


For months, I have been writing some of their stories and posting them on Face Book. I am a Scotswoman and not used to begging but - I will go against my own culture and beg you to pay another visit to the Bicutan Detention Center.

With the greatest respect for you and your dream for a corrupt free Philippines,

I remain, your humble admirer.
Sherry Zimmer

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Source: Sherry Zimmer
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