Twelve thousand convicted criminals roam the walls of the 10-hectare facility of the Maximum Security Compound of the National Penitentiary. While the National Bilibid Prisons has several facilities, the Maximum Security area has been elusive to television cameras until now.
In place of prison bars are tall perimeter walls housing dormitories. The presence of restaurants, billiard halls, tennis courts and even a market give the illusion of a regular community if not for the orange-clad population wandering about. Inmates serving a sentence of a minimum of 20 years spend their days here — where gang rules are strictly followed and happiness is measured by the number of visits from loved ones.
Warren, a University of the Philippines Civil Engineering graduate and board top-notcher, challenges the stereotype of a tattooed, crass prisoner. Efren, a University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music graduate shares his talent by teaching fellow inmates to play the violin. The voice of 1995 Metro Pop vocalist of year, Luis, bounces off the prison walls and over the barbed wires surrounding the facility.
Closed off and shut out from the rest of the outside world…many of their interesting stories remain confined inside the prison complex. Right or wrong, the system inside maximum security is truly unique. Inmates agree and often say, “only in the Philippines”
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Jaybee Sebastian released an interview to discuss what really happens inside the prison walls
Jaybee Sebastian is also featured in another documentary of Bilibid created by The Discovery Channel
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