Roilo Golez is principal author: Pinoy signs law modernizing Bureau of Corrections By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 29, 2013 -
Roilo Golez is principal author: Pinoy signs law modernizing Bureau of Corrections
By Edu Punay(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 29, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has signed a law modernizing the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), a constituent agency of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in charge of running the country’s penitentiaries.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the President signed last May 24 Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, seeking to upgrade prison facilities, professionalize and restructure the bureau, and increase salaries and benefits of its personnel.
“This is a new beginning for BuCor. With the new law, we can now improve prison facilities, recruit more corrections officers, and implement more responsive reformation programs for inmates,” she said.
De Lima believes the new law is a big step toward achieving government’s long-term goal of “meeting international standards in prison administration” and “United Nations’ standards in the treatment of inmates or Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL).”
Under the law, construction and development of regional prisons will be a priority to address shortage of correctional facilities.
The New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City has maximum capacity of 9,000 inmates but currently holds a total of 21,106 prisoners.
In Leyte regional prison, a total of 1,601 inmates are being held in the facility, which has a maximum capacity of only 486 inmates – or a congestion rate of 230 percent.
The law also directs BuCor to implement a rationalized system of promotion and performance evaluation system in coordination with the Civil Service Commission (CSC). It authorizes the recruitment of additional personnel and standardization of salary grades.
BuCor records showed that the total population in all BuCor facilities nationwide has ballooned from 12,000 to 37,232 over the past 20 years. At present, a prison guard in NBP is in charge of 62 inmates, while a prison guard at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong has 144 inmates to watch over.
De Lima ordered BuCor director Franklin Jesus Bucayu to immediately facilitate the implementation of the new law, which will be completed on a staggered basis in five years.
“Prison reforms are part of the President’s good governance agenda. The new law aims to improve and strengthen the culture of professionalism, competence and integrity among BuCor’s corrections personnel and civilian employees,” she added.