By Chito Chavez
Personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have orders to be extra vigilant to foil any attempt by inmates to break out during the Christmas holiday.
The BJMP spokesman, Chief Inspector Xavier Solda, said bureau chief Deogracias Tapayan gave the orders to prevent jailbreaks during the Christmas lull.
Solda said jail guards assigned to BJMP-controlled facilities will have to work double time and bureau officials have to conduct frequent inspections to see to it that the cells are secure.
BJMP is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“BJMP should not let its guard down, especially now that everyone is busy with their own preparations for Christmas,” said Solda.
On orders of Tapayan, Solda warned bureau personnel they face sanctions if they fail to strictly enforce the rules in all city, district, provincial and municipal jails.
He added that the bureau must also crack down on the trafficking of illegal drugs inside jails.
BJMP conducts surprise inspections of cells for contraband items such as drugs, weapons, cellphones and guns.
Tapayan said BJMP’s efforts to improve its operations have paid off, citing the international award it won for developing an electronic paralegal learning module (EPLM) that has become a major tool in decongesting overcrowded jails.
The bureau, in partnership with the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC), got the nod from the International Project Management Association (IPMA) Global Project Excellence Award 2018.
“It is the first community project from the Philippines to be chosen as finalist in the International Community of Project Management and we are glad that the BJMP and ICRC effort’s was recognized as the second highest award due to its Outstanding Achievement and Innovation in Project Management Best Practice”, said Tapayan said.
He said the overall objective of EPLM is to help in the decongestion efforts of BJMP by maximizing the impact of paralegal officers.
The bureau’s representative in the IPMA Awards, Jail Senior Inspector Jeza Mae Sarah C Sanchez, explained how the EPLM project made significant strides in reducing the population of BJMP jails.
“The IPMA Awards recognizes the project management best practices employed by the EPLM team such as the use of the Prototype method, employment of cross-functional team members, collaboration between various stakeholders and how these practices address the challenges of overcrowding in the country,” said Sanchez.
ICRC’s collaboration with BJMP to reduce overcrowding in jails through empowering its paralegal services led to EPLM project in 2016.
Tapayan said the “EPLM project with the utilization of early modes of releases and the implementation of infrastructure projects’’ are key factors that reduced overcrowding in jails of from 620 percent to 67 percent and from the national congestion rate of 612 percent in 2017 to 545 percent in September 2018.
He explained the project aims to aid the BJMP paralegals in safeguarding the rights of detainees by training paralegals to carry out activities that ensures humane treatment to persons deprived of liberty (PDL) including the early modes of releases from jails.
Tapayan added it is also an e-resource learning center with series of modules dedicated to increase awareness and understanding of paralegal support mechanisms to protect PDL rights.
Earlier, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año cited the BJMP’s international recognition in its efforts to decongest jails while praising the bureau’s feat to raise its standard of innovative jail management and good governance.
Since 2002, IPMA has organized an annual international competition for projects and program presenting awards to teams that display and can prove great achievements in project and program management.
The IPMA Global Project Excellence Awards support project teams in their continuous improvement effort and acknowledges excellent and innovative projects with social impact to the community particularly to the most vulnerable sectors of the society.
“With the support of ICRC and other stakeholders in the government and civil society, the BJMP will continue to innovate and standardize best practices in jail management”, Tapayan concluded.