Inmates injured in protest at Manila City Jail

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) —  A noise barrage at the city jail in the Philippine capital of Manila on Thursday turned violent, leaving 35 inmates and four security personnel injured, police said.

Violence flared after some inmates with drug-related offenses refused to be transferred to another dormitory in the Manila City Jail.

"Inumpisahan natin ang pagbuwag sa mga pangkat. Ang hindi lang sumunod ay 'Batang City Jail,'" said city jail warden Superintendet Gerald Bantag, referring to a gang of inmates. ["We began segregating the groups. The ones who resisted were from 'Batang City Jail'."]

Prisoners usually affiliate themselves with gangs to assure their protection inside the jail.

Some 200 inmates from Dormitory 9 and 10 made noise, held placards, climbed the roofs of their prisons to protest the segregation and transfer of inmates with drug-related offenses, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) national headquarters said in a statement.

"Anticipated namin na magkakaroon ng degree of resistance. Kasi ganyan, eh. By all means, i-pe-preserve nila gang nila," said Manila City Jail's chief of intelligence Senior Inspector Antonio Gayagaya.

["We expected some degree of resistance. It's like that. By all means, they will preserve their gangs."]

The Manila City Jail, which has a capacity of 1,200, has a population of 4,000 inmates. Half of them have to be segregated, Gayagaya added. The jail is also undermanned with only 179 city jail employees.

The move to segregate the inmates with drug-related offenses is part of the jails' campaign to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the jails, said BJMP senior inspector Xavier Solda.

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It follows President Rodrigo Duterte's order to separate drug personalities from the rest of the inmates.

"Kahit anong taas ng pader, informal settlers katabi. May incident na nahuhuli namin na bumabagsak na plastic bottle. Nare-recover namin, drugs ang laman, galing sa labas," said Gayagaya. [No matter how high the jail walls are, informal settlers are nearby. We had an incident where we catch plastic bottles being thrown. We recover drugs inside, these (bottles) come from outside.]

The move would also give drug offenders access to proper intervention such as therapy, physical fitness, counseling, and other rehabilitation activities, Solda added.

Ice picks and other weapons were confiscated from the inmates. The incident forced a temporary lockdown and visitors were prohibited from entering the jail.

Unruly inmates will be relocated to another jail in Bicutan, 15 kilometers south of Manila.

CNN Philippines' Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.