Senate approves bill on BJMP control of provincial jails

Inquirer.net March 04,2024 - 10:45 PM

Cebu provincial jail

The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center | (CDN file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate passed a bill on Monday aiming to transfer the control and supervision of all provincial and sub-provincial jails from the local government to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

Senate Bill No. 2352 or the Jail Integration Act, was approved on third and final reading, with 19 affirmative, zero negative votes, and zero abstention.

“By turning over the provincial and sub-provincial jails under the jurisdiction of the BJMP, we shall be giving more freedom to our provincial governments to direct their resources in accordance with their respective priorities,” said Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, sponsor of the bill.

Initially, BJMP was only responsible for city, municipal, and district jails, while provincial governments controlled provincial and sub-provincial jails.

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Under the Jail Integration Act, provincial governments would be given three years as a “transition period” to transfer control of all their respective jails to the BJMP while also continuing to provide subsistence allowances to inmates and maintaining the facility.

The bill also guarantees the security of tenure of the employees and staff of the provincial and sub-provincial jails, as they will be integrated into the BJMP based on qualification standards or will be granted separation benefits if they no longer wish to be of service due to the transfer.

Meanwhile, employees who do not meet the qualification standards at the time of transfer will be given five more years from when the transition period ends “to fulfill the requirements of their respective positions.”

“The BJMP may be charged with the handling of Persons Deprived of Liberty, but it is the humble opinion of this representation that the liberty to manage our jails must be given to them, fully and without exemption, under the law,” Dela Rosa said.  (Barbara Gutierrez, INQUIRER.net intern)

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