Published on The DAILY TRIBUNE - February 15, 2013 Writen by: PNA
House approves Bill Modernizing BUCOR
The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill providing for the modernization, professionalization and restructuring of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
House Bill 6887, which substituted House Bills 197, 712, 2880, 4619, 4766, 5546, 5741, 5926 and House Resolution 1327 as contained in Committee Report 2675, was sponsored in plenary by the committees on justice and appropriations chaired by Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. and Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong, respectively.
However, a conference committee has decided to consider its Senate counterpart and is now awaiting enrollment stage.
Rep. Roilo Golez, principal author, said the bill will promote the general welfare and safeguard the basic rights of every prisoner incarcerated in the national penitentiary.
“By upgrading its facilities, increasing the number of personnel, upgrading the level of qualifications of personnel and standardizing base pay, retirement and other benefits, BuCor will be at par with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP),” Golez said.
Golez added the measure also seeks to strengthen government capability to institutionalize highly efficient and competent correctional services to improve the criminal justice system.
According to Golez, one of the key provisions of the bill is mandating the BuCor to be in charge of safekeeping and instituting reformation programs for national inmates sentenced to more than three years.
Golez said the reformation programs to be instituted by BuCor will center on moral and spiritual programs; education and training; work and livelihood; sports and recreation; health and welfare and behavior modification program to include therapeutic community.
“If our present prison system should carry out effectively its purpose to dispense punishment, deterrence, reformation and rehabilitation, as well as the protection of society, it is imperative that the physical facilities to implement these purposes must be upgraded not only for the better treatment of the prisoners but also comply with our international human rights obligations. Thus, this reform is a must,” Golez stressed.
Under the measure to be known as “The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013,” BuCor shall operate under a directorial structure under the Directorate for Reception and Diagnostics which shall undertake reception of inmates.
Likewise, the Security and Operations Directorates, which shall provide basic needs and security while the Reformation Directorates will administer reformation programs and the Directorate for External Relations will prepare inmates for reintegration to mainstream society.
The bill provides that all BuCor lands shall be used for inmate security, reformation programs and as a means to promote sustainability, both for income and non-income generating programs, with or without partnership among NGOs, civic organizations or other government entities.