Yamsuan: Dept. of Corrections bill to include monitoring system

August 7, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 277 views

BICOL Saro Party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan has incorporated the establishment of an electronic monitoring system containing information on all persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in his bill seeking to create the Department of Corrections and Jail Management (DCJM).

Yamsuan said this encrypted monitoring system will enable the DCJM to track not only the history and whereabouts of PDLs, but also their progress in participating in rehabilitation programs, and more importantly, their time in detention and appeals processes to determine if they are eligible for reintegration into society.

“With a comprehensive monitoring system in place, PDLs who are still languishing in jail but are eligible for release can be easily tracked, thus helping decongest our crowded penal facilities,” he added.

Yamsuan has filed House Bill (HB) 8672 which aims to create the DCJM, as reports surfaced about a missing PDL and the possibility that there could be mass graves inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Last year, 176 bodies of PDLs who died inside the NBP were found stored and unclaimed in a funeral home since December 2021, prompting the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct an independent probe into this deplorable incident.

Under HB 8672, the proposed DCJM will be the single authority that will supervise over BuCor, which is currently under the Department of Justice (DOJ); the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) of the DILG; the correctional and jail services of the provincial governments, the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP); and the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), Yamsuan said.

“A centralized department would streamline resource allocation and budgeting, ensuring that each facility would have adequate funding to support essential services that would contribute to better living conditions and a higher standard of care for PDLs, fostering an environment that is more conducive to rehabilitation,” Yamsuan said.

Meanwhile, the National PDL Monitoring System outlined under Section 18 of HB 8672 would serve as the central electronic network system connecting the various courts, the DCJM, and all other relevant government agencies with information on PDLs.

Yamsuan said the PDL Monitoring System will prevent instances where an inmate already eligible for parole or release is forced to remain in jail because of lack of legal representation or because his or her plight has already been neglected or overlooked.

Overcrowding is one of the most pressing issues faced by prisons and jails in the country. In 2018, the Philippines held the sixth-highest prison population out of 21 Asian countries.

A presentation two weeks ago before the House Committee on Justice by Dr. Raymund Narag, a recognized international criminology expert and himself a former detainee, prompted Yamsuan to propose the creation of the DCJM.