DOJ forms TWG to hasten creation of separate ‘heinous crimes’ prisons

By Benjamin Pulta

April 24, 2024, 3:21 pm

<p>Department of Justice <em>(PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)</em></p>

Department of Justice (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to hasten the creation of a separate penal facility for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) convicted of heinous crimes.

Under Department Order No. 208, series of 2024, issued by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, the TWG would be led by Undersecretary Deo Marco, and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr.

The DOJ said the creation of the TWG is in line with the implementation of Republic Act No. 11928, also known as the “Separate Facility for Heinous Crimes Act.”

“Our prison system and facilities reflect the efficiency of the State in rebuilding lives who have once become astray for certain reasons beyond our control,” Remulla said in a statement.

“In reforming those who have transgressed our laws, we should consider not only the welfare of the PDLs but the security and well-being of our community as well.”

Representatives from the Department of Public Works and Highways and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime shall be invited as TWG external members.

The TWG is ordered to submit its report to the Secretary not later than 90 days from the issuance of the Department Order.

According to the DOJ, the project aims to establish a facility in a suitable location away from the general population and other PDLs, preferably within a military establishment or an island separate from the mainland.

RA 11928 also mandates the construction of at least three facilities for high-level offenders of heinous crimes, with one facility each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Agricultural camp for kids under rehab

The BuCor, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Pampanga State Agricultural University (PSAU) also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the construction and management of an Agricultural Camp for the confinement of children in conflict with the law (CICL).

The MOU for the “Agri-Camp Project: Sowing seeds of hope through sustainable farming” was signed by Catapang, DSWD Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar, representing DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, and PSAU president Dr. Anita David in a simple ceremony at the DSWD’s Haven for Girls in Magalang, Pampanga.

The three institutions committed to “develop cooperation and promote mutual understanding” in the formulation of common programs, policies and plans for their respective development, and the growth of the agriculture sector in the country.

As envisioned, the agri-camp will offer vocational training and hands-on work experience on sustainable food production for CICLs, as they prepare for reintegration in their communities. (PNA)