Transfer of management and control of provincial jails to BJMP sought

By on May 7, 2015


MANILA — A lawmaker has proposed the transfer of supervision and control over all provincial jails from the provincial governments to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

“The proposed transfer will surely answer the need to establish an integrated approach to jail management in the country,” Rep. Francisco T. Matugas (1st District, Surigao del Norte), author of House Bill No. 2217, said.

HB 2217 is entitled “An Act transferring the supervision and control over provincial jails from the provincial government to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990.”

Matugas noted that under Section 61 of R.A. 6975, all provincial jails are placed under the supervision and control of the provincial government while the city and municipal jails are supervised and controlled by the BJMP.

“With this setup, it is difficult to establish an integrated approach to jail management as overall coordination between the national leadership of the BJMP and the provincial government vis-à-vis jail management can hardly be done,” Matugas pointed out.

The author stressed that peace and order has always been a perennial issue plaguing the national government as well as the local government units.

“As one of the pillars of our law enforcement system, the BJMP plays a very crucial role in the rehabilitation of persons who had violated our laws. It helps in transforming criminal into becoming more productive members of our society,” Matugas said.

The BJMP, Matugas noted, has four major programs, namely: 1) inmates custody, security and control programs; 2) inmates welfare and development programs (rehabilitation programs); 3) decongestion programs; and 4) good governance.

However, the author is concerned that under the current setup, with the provincial government controlling the provincial jails, the BJMP cannot implement its policies and programs over these jails.

“Hence, there is lack of uniformity in the training of jail personnel; livelihood projects, educational and vocational trainings vary and even the custody and security of inmates are not assured, thus making good governance impossible to achieve,” Matugas explained as he underlined the need to change the management situation of provincial jails.

Matugas recalled that HB 2217 is a re-filed in toto version of an original measure filed but overtaken by time during the 15th Congress. HB 2217 has been referred for proper consideration to the Committee on Public Order and Safety chaired by Rep. Jeffrey P. Ferrer (4th District, Negros Occidental).