Law modernizing BuCor remains unfunded – BuCor Chief

New Bilibid Prison facade

MANILA, Philippines — The law modernizing the Bureau of Corrections or the Republic Act 10575 enacted in 2013 remains to be fully implemented.

In an interview on Get It Straight With Daniel Razon, BuCor chief, Benjamin delos Santos laments that the budget department is yet to fund the modernization law.

He confirmed that the problem with implementation is the budget, because it has to be coordinated with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Civil Service Commission.

“Civil service for the qualification standards, DBM for the allocation of funds,” explained Delos Santos.

Not only did it take three years to finalize the implementing rules and regulations, but there are also issues with the qualifications of BuCor personnel.

Under the modernization law, prison guards will be designated as corrections officers or corrections technical officers and will be reorganized into a uniformed service similar to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Some BuCor employees oppose this.

“There is an issue with the civilian component, the non-uniformed personnel because they do not want to be in that system because there was a ranking,” said Delos Santos.

“They will have to work for 24 hours just like the policemen. Others are already old and they were not able to meet the educational requirement of the law.”

Delos Santos said one of his priorities under the modernization law is the salary standardization for prison guards.

“The salary grade of our guards is only salary grade 5, that’s for the lowest rank of prison guard 1. Compared to BJMP, their lowest rank is salary grade 10. Practically, half. So the disparity of salary is huge and over the years, sad to say and admit it, the BuCor was quite neglected.”

Part of the law is the establishment of a correctional training institute to meet the education and skill standards required for prison guards.

There is also a pending Senate bill proposing the creation of a separate department of corrections but Delos Santos said his priority for now the is agency’s modernization. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News and Rescue

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