Press Release
March 22, 2023

COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ORDER AND DANGEROUS DRUGS
OPENING STATEMENT
March 22, 2023

Agenda: S. No. 1451 and 2014 - Integrating all the provincial and sub-provincial jails within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)

Again, good morning to all of you, especially to our resource persons who traveled all the way from Zamboanga Del Sur, Governor Victor Yu. Si Congresswoman Jeyzel Yu, kwan lang, andito lang naman siya, malapit lang, sa kabila. Pero si Governor talaga, malayo ang binyahe nito. Thank you for coming over.

Again, today, we shall be discussing bills that propose to transfer the control and supervision of our provincial jails, from their respective Provincial Government to our Bureau of Jail Management and Penology or the BJMP.

As a backgrounder, we have tackled similar bills last Congress filed by yours truly and Senator Bong Revilla and other senators. But due to COVID-19, it was overtaken by time. But nevertheless, we were able to hear at the committee level those bills filed in one hearing. So, this Congress, again, the same bills were filed by yours truly and Senator Bong Revilla.

As a government agency that envisions itself to be "highly capable of providing humane safekeeping and developmental opportunities for Persons Deprived of Liberty," the BJMP upholds its own world-class standards in jail management. However, currently these standards cannot be applied to Provincial Jails, as these jails are placed under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government to which they belong. As a consequence, the standard that applies to Provincial Jails are the ones set forth by the provincial government. In the end, it may be contributing to the fragmentation and dividedness of our correctional system.

Our goal in proposing the transfer of provincial jail is to address the said fragmentation. Moreover, we want to promote uniformity in the management of our jails, so that there will also be uniformity in the way that we keep our PDLs safe and provide them with opportunities to develop themselves. In addition, this legislative measure also seeks to provide opportunities for career development for provincial jail employees. In the same manner, we want to unburden the provincial government with the jail management responsibility so they will be able to focus on providing basic social services to their constituents.

In spite of the aforementioned reasons, we are here today to hear the comments and suggestions of our resource persons for our legislative measures. Specifically, we want to know why provincial jails were treated differently by Republic Act No. 6975.

We also want to inquire as to how our proposal will affect the policy direction of the national government on full devolution. Likewise, we want to hear the position of the employees and personnel of different provincial jails that will be affected by the proposed transfer of jail management. We are here to listen.

As always, I thank you all in anticipation of your valuable insights and comments. We hope to craft a bill that will be responsive to the needs of all stakeholders.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

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