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DILG supports proposal to integrate provincial jails to BJMP

September 11, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) fully supports the proposal of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to integrate all provincial jails to the Bureau of Jail Management Penology (BJMP) as this will “professionalize and standardize the management of jails at the local level.”

“We fully support Senator Drilon’s proposal to bring all provincial jails into our fold at the BJMP because this will not only standardize policies and rules in managing jails but will also ensure that local jails are manned by highly-trained and competent jail personnel,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

According to the DILG Secretary, some jails managed by local government units (LGUs) usually employ ill-trained and equipped personnel and lack adequate facilities making them prone to escapes.

“I am confident that with BJMP’s competence in managing jails and with its professional corps of uniformed jail officers, prison break incidents in provincial jails will be substantially reduced,” he says.

Under Drilon’s proposed bill, there will be a national jail system under the DOJ-Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and a local jail system under the DILG-BJMP.

Año said that the transfer of provincial jails to BJMP “will also be advantageous to the local governments” as they will not anymore worry about issues like riots, jailbreaks, salaries of local jail personnel, and meals for the persons deprived of liberty.

Records from the BJMP show that of the 74 provincial jails nationwide, 13 provincial jails are now being supervised and manned by the BJMP by virtue of a memorandum of agreement between the LGUs and the provincial governments. Meanwhile, seven provinces have no provincial jails.

“If and when the 61 provincial jails with a total jail population of 32,940 will be turned over to the BJMP, we will need to hire and train an additional 14,573 jail officers to man these jails,” Año says.

As provided in R.A. No. 6975, the Jail Bureau is mandated to take operational and administrative control over all city, district and municipal jails. Under the Local Government Code, however, provincial and sub-provincial jails are under the management and control of the Provincial Governments making for a disjointed local jail system.

Heinous crime penitentiary

Meanwhile, Año also threw support to the creation of a proposed Heinous Crimes Penitentiary (HCP) facility in the Philippines as a move to cleanse the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City of high-risk criminals.

"Mabuti po iyon para mas mabantayan natin iyong mga illegal drug lords, CPP-NPA at terrorist groups," he said during the presentation of the proposed DILG budget for 2020 to the Senate Committee on Finance.

During the budget presentation, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri inquired whether the DILG Chief will back the creation of an HCP facility, or an 'Alcatraz-like prison' for convicted criminals of atrocious offense. The HCP is being eyed to be set up in Palawan near the West Philippine Sea where face to face visitation will no longer be allowed even to the families of the convicts.

“We strongly support your proposed bill to serve as a deterrent for criminals from further committing such heinous acts,” said Año.