DILG backs bid to integrate provincial jails to BJMP

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019   •   934

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.

21 COVID-19 test labs begin operations—DILG

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that 21 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratories have begun operations in various areas in the country.

Out of the 21 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) laboratories, 14 of them are in Luzon, 3 in Visayas, and 4 in Mindanao. DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there are currently a total of 130 licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country.

Batid po natin na sa community transmission talaga malakas ang hawaan nitong COVID-19. Kaya magandang balita po ito na pinapalakas ng ating mga lokal na pamahalaan ang kanilang kapasidad upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng taumbayan (We know that community transmission of COVID-19 is really high. It is good news that our local government units are boosting their capacity to address the needs of the citizens),” he said.

Año also said the daily number of COVID-19 tests has reached over 30,000. Twenty more COVID-19 testing laboratories are currently being reviewed by the Department of Health. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

DILG tells LGUs: Endorse mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to Oplan Kalinga facilities

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila to endorse to Oplan Kalinga quarantine facilities mild and asymptomatic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients that could no longer be accommodated in local isolation centers.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there now 4,000 beds available in Oplan Kalinga facilities due to the increase in discharges or recoveries in the previous weeks.

“We urge all Metro Manila LGUs to endorse patients which they can no longer accommodate in their local isolation facilities to endorse them to the Mega TTMFs and Oplan Kalinga Hotels which now has some 4,000 beds available because many have already been discharged,” he said.

Año said this is in compliance with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 74 which states that all confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are required to isolate in government-approved facilities, except those who are vulnerable or have comorbidities as certified by a local health officer.

Also exempted in this rule are confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in areas where the government-recognized isolation centers are in full capacity.

“Meron tayong mga Mega Quarantine Facilities and 31 COVID hotels na kung saan puwede sila mag-isolate. Importante kasi talaga na mailabas sila sa bahay kasi nakahahawa sa pamilya,” the DILG chief said.

According to DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, LGUs can coordinate directly with the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) located at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which was created to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated response to the pandemic by ensuring an efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.

Malaya said that with the establishment of the OHCC, LGUs and individuals can now easily locate hospitals or isolation facilities near them.

The DILG said the command center is open 24/7 and individuals needing treatment may call the OHCC hotlines at 0927-728-0750, 0927-728-0753, 0927-728-0755, and 0927-728-0798.

Individuals needing assistance from the OHCC may also download the PureForce Citizens App via Google Play Store or App Store, it added.

IATF to study mayors’ bid to retain Metro Manila under GCQ after Sept. 30 – Año

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Most mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) are in favor of extending the general community quarantine (GCQ) being implemented in the region, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.

Año said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet on Sunday, Sept. 27 to discuss the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council on the next quarantine status in NCR by October.

“Maraming mga mayors ng NCR ang gusto pa rin mag-GCQ pero depende pa rin sa usapan sa Sunday,” he said.

Metro Manila is under GCQ until Sept. 30 as earlier recommended by the IATF and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Año said they will thoroughly discuss the Metro Manila mayors’ proposal in order to balance the factors of public health and economy which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dalawa ‘yan: mahigpit na MGCQ o maluwag na GCQ. Kapag titignan mo mas maganda talaga na naka-GCQ tayo kahit magluwag ka ng konti pero meron kang talagang mas mataaas na panuntunan kaysa yung nag MGCQ ka pagkatapos hihigpitan mo,” he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier said that Metro Manila could be placed under modified GCQ as this would allow the reopening of more industries to help revive the economy.

The IATF is also set to meet with Duterte on Sunday night to discuss the next quarantine classifications in NCR. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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