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Better BuCor to emerge - Chiz



Published on Journal Online- Wednesday, December 19, 2012

THE “antiquated and inadequate” security facilities of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) will soon be replaced by newer ones following the Senate’s passage of a bill modernizing BuCor’s operations as well upgrading the salary of its personnel.

Sen.Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said BuCor, which was created in 1905, has not seen much legislative updating except for a change in its name from the former Bureau of Prisons.

The Upper Chamber approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 3335 allowing BuCor to cope with the modern demands in penology and other functional considerations in accordance with the United Nation’s standards.

Escudero, sponsor of SBN 3335, raised the need to upgrade BuCor’s operations, which are still based on the Prison Law of 1917. “BuCor lacks modern security equipment such as surveillance cameras, handheld radios, firearms and other security-related equipment,” he said.

He deplored that BuCor’s present capacity has been “overloaded to reach high congestion rates.” He noted that in 1989, BuCor housed at least 12,900 inmates manned by 2,362 employees with a prison guard to inmate ratio of 1:27.

“After 20 years or in 2009, the inmate population rose to 35,400 manned by the same 2,362 employees with prison guard to inmate ratio 1:81,” Escudero said.

He said that while the population continues to increase at an average rate of five percent annually, totaling 35,937 as of December 2010, BuCor has the same plantilla position of 2,362.

“Bucor likewise, miserably lags behind its counterpart, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), in terms of personnel remuneration,” he said. While the lowest commissioned officer of the BJMP has a salary grade of 22, its BuCor counterpart has a salary grade of 11, he said.

“Unlike BJMP, BuCor custodial personnel are not considered uniformed personnel or not entitled to salary increases/bonus and other benefits pertaining to uniformed personnel enjoyed by such agencies like the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) and Bureau of Immigration (BI), whose jobs are not closely exposed to high risk criminals as compared to BuCor,” Escudero said.   Bernadette E. Tamayo