Bigger roles for BuCor, BJMP under 5-year prisons development plan

By Benjamin Pulta

December 4, 2023, 7:22 pm

MANILA – Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Catapang sees bigger roles for government agencies in charge of corrections management following proposals to consolidate the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and BuCor.

"Lalaki pa itong BuCor. Either ma-absorb tayo ng BJMP o ma-absorb natin ang BJMP at saka provincial jails kasi kasama ‘yan sa five-year development plan. Gusto ni Presidente [Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.] pagsama-samahin na ‘yung provincial jail, BJMP, at tsaka BuCor (BuCor will expand. Either we will be absorbed by the BJMP or we will absorb the BJMP and the provincial jails. This is part of the five-year development plan. The President wants to consolidate provincial jails, BJMP and BuCor)," he told reporters on Monday.

Detainees with pending criminal cases fall under the BJMP, which is under the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

BuCor, operating under the Department of Justice (DOJ), manages convicts at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

Catapang said he is personally in favor of keeping jail and prison management under the DOJ, like in other countries.

He said a measure to put up a Department of Correctional Services is too much.

"Having served in the government, masyado masalimuot ‘yan (Having served in the government, that is complicated)," he said.

The BuCor chief said it makes more sense to with prison management under the DOJ because its functions are closely related to sub-agencies, such as the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration.

On Dec. 6 and 7 in Manila, the Supreme Court and various stakeholders will join a jail decongestion summit to come up with comprehensive analysis of the penal system and address prison congestion problems.

The DOJ said Marcos will be attending the event with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez. (PNA)