BJMP jurisdiction on jails sought

December 17, 2011, 12:03am

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers have proposed the

The Sorsogon Provincial Jail is located just behind the Provincial Capitol. Both were built during the American Occupation.

removal of provincial, sub-provincial and district jails under the control of the local government units (LGUs) and transfer them to the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

South Cotabato Rep. Daisy Avance Fuentes, Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Matugas, and Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero sought the removal of jails under the LGUs when they filed House Bill Nos. 3652, 4082 and 4281 which would place the provincial, sub-provincial and district jails under the control of BJMP.

These proposals would amend the Department of Interior and Local Government Act, the Local Government Code of the Philippines and the BJMP Professionalization Act.

Fuentes noted that putting the local jails under the BJMP’s jurisdiction would eliminate confusion in identifying which agency would be held responsible for the improvement of local jails, professionalize jail guards, and establish a uniform policy on the administration and supervision of all local jails, among others.

“This measure will relieve the provincial government the task of supervising and maintaining jail facilities to be able to devote its time and resources to the governance of the province,” Fuentes told members of House Committee on Public Order and Safety at a hearing earlier this week.

About a P5.6 billion budget has been appropriated for BJMP in the P1.816 trillion national budget for next year, which President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III signed last Thursday.

BJMP Chief Inspector Roy Valenzuela supported the bills, saying that the BJMP has already taken steps to that direction by entering into a memorandum of agreement with certain provincial governments which allows the BJMP to take over the management of provincial jails.

Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia, chairman of the House Public Order and Safety, tasked the BJMP to submit a copy of the Memorandum of agreement before the House panel as well as a report on the state of jails in the country.

The League of Provinces of the Philippines will present its position paper in the next hearing.

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