DILG backs bid to integrate provincial jails to BJMP
Robie de Guzman • September 11, 2019 • 230
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has expressed full support to the proposal to integrate all provincial jails to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to “professionalize and standardize the management of jails at the local level.”
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon made the proposal in a bid to put up national and local jail systems under the Department of Justice and Bureau of Corrections and the DILG and BJMP, respectively.
“We fully support Senator Drilon’s proposal to bring all provincial jails into our fold at the BJMP because this will not only standardize policies and rules in managing jails but will also ensure that local jails are manned by highly-trained and competent jail personnel,”DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
Año said some jails managed by local government units (LGUs) usually employ ill-trained, ill-equipped personnel and lack adequate facilities making them prone to escapes.
“I am confident that with BJMP’s competence in managing jails and with its professional corps of uniformed jail officers, prison break incidents in provincial jails will be substantially reduced,”he said.
The DILG chief also believes that the transfer of provincial jails to BJMP will also be advantageous to local governments as they will not anymore worry about issues like riots, jailbreaks, salaries of local jail personnel, and meals for the persons deprived of liberty.
BJMP records show that there are 74 provincial jails nationwide. Thirteen of these jails are now being supervised and manned by the BJMP by virtue of a memorandum of agreement between the LGUs and the provincial governments. Meanwhile, seven provinces have no provincial jails.
If the 61 provincial jails with a total population of 32,940 will be turned over to the BJMP, Año said they will need to hire and train additional 14,573 officers to man these jails.
Año cited the Republic Act No. 6975 which mandates the Jail Bureau to take operational and administrative control over all city, district and municipal jails. Under the Local Government Code, however, provincial and sub-provincial jails are under the management and control of the Provincial Governments making for a disjointed local jail system.
Heinous crime penitentiary
The DILG chief also supports the proposal to create a Heinous Crimes Penitentiary (HCP) facility in the Philippines to purge the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) of high-risk criminals.
“Mabuti po iyon para mas mabantayan natin iyong mga illegal drug lords, CPP-NPA at terrorist groups,” Año said during the presentation of the proposed DILG 2020 budget to the Senate Committee on Finance.
Some senators earlier pushed for the creation of an ‘Alcatraz-like prison’ for convicted heinous criminals. The facility is being eyed to be set up in Palawan near the West Philippine Sea where face-to-face visitation with families will no longer be allowed.
“We strongly support your proposed bill to serve as a deterrent for criminals from further committing such heinous acts,” said Año.
In just a little over a week, the 60-day period that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has set for the local chief executives to clean the streets of Metro Manila will come to an end.
But Manila mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has admitted that they have a long way to go to completely clean the streets of the almost 900 barangays in the city.
“I’m not doing it for my fellow mayors, I’m doing it for the people of Manila,” he said.
Mayor Isko, however, stated that he is happy with the accomplishments of other cities in Metro Manila that have completed clearing their streets of obstructions.
“I’m happy for them but this is not a competition among mayors,” he added.
The DILG, however, that no Metro Manila cities had been 100% compliant in clearing the streets.
Moreno admitted that several areas in Manila, such as Quiapo and Tondo, remain a big problem for him.
But he assured that he will not waver from his resolve.
“Whether mameet namin o hindi naman namin mameet, it doesn’t matter because we will continue.”
Moreno pointed to the lack of governance caused the return of the obstructions in some areas in Manila in the past.
The local chief executive, however, warned that he will file charges against the barangay officials who will fail to accomplish their tasks and submit the inventories of their areas of concern. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday called on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units (LGU) to support the Finance department’s move to shut down Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) that are not complying with the country’s tax laws.
In a statement, Villanueva said the DILG should help in this measure by ordering LGUs to revoke business permits of POGOs that are evading their tax liabilities.
The DOF over the weekend ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to close down and file charges against POGOS including their service providers that fail or refuse to settle the tax liabilities of their foreign workers.
The order was issued following reports of slow collection of withholding income taxes from select POGOs with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion despite the issuance of 130 letter-notices to these firms.
“We do not owe anything to these errant POGOs who have the gall to refuse the correct payment of taxes of their workers. We expect nothing less than the immediate shut down of these firms,” Villanueva said.
“It is high time that our government acts with dispatch to make these firms comply with our country’s laws. We call on the interior department to support the Department of Finance by asking all local government units to revoke business permits of POGOs who do not comply with our tax laws,” he added.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) earlier assured support for the Finance department’s move to close down errant POGOs.
“We follow the law. BIR has the legal authority to close down establishments who evade taxes. Pagcor supports this move. We are issuing a letter to all POGO operators and service providers to this effect,” Pagcor Chairman Andrea Domingo said in a statement.
Villanueva also urged the DILG to assist the BIR in implementing the order by asking the police to shutter tax-evading online gaming operators the way it closed down operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) last month.
It can be recalled that police closed down PCSO outlets in July after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the immediate suspension of all its gaming operations over the supposed corruption in the agency.
The president later lifted the suspension on lotto and small-town lottery operations but with certain conditions.
Villanueva also pointed out that POGOs only provide “minimal benefits” to the country compared to its effects to Filipino locals and businesses, including the increase of rental rates for residential or office spaces near POGO hubs.
“Hindi biro ang pagsulpot ng sektor na ito at ang mga kaakibat na problemang dala dala nito tulad ng paglikha ng tinatawag na real estate bubble at pagtaas ng krimen sangkot ang mga dayuhan,” Villanueva said.
“Sa ating pananaw, hindi po sapat ang kanilang binabayaran na buwis para payagan itong mamayagpag,” he added.
He also raised concern over the spiking number of crimes involving foreign nationals, citing a recent raid in Pasig City where 277 Chinese nationals were apprehended.
“Dumadayo na rin po sa ating bayan ang mga kriminal na tumatakas sa kanilang pananagutan sa batas ng China, tulad na lamang ng nakaraang raid sa isang opisina sa Pasig noong nakalipas na lingo,” he said.
“Maging ang gobyerno ng China po ay hinihiling na ipagbawal na ang pagpapatakbo ng mga POGO mula sa ating pamahalaan. Maliit lang po ang benepisyo natin sa sektor na ito, at mas malaki pa ang dulot na abala sa atin nito,” he added.
Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, said a public inquiry into POGOs will be conducted where they will discuss all the facts and effects it has brought to the country.
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