By Chito Chavez
Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año has vouched for the honesty, integrity, and knowhow of newly appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director-General Gerald Quitaleg Bantag.
“We welcome the designation by the President of J/SSUPT Gerald Quitaleg Bantag of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) as the new Director General of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor),’’ Año said.
Bantag has served as warden of major city jails in Metro Manila and eventually as BJMP Regional Director.
Earning praises from his superiors at the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the BJMP, Bantag has the professional experience, training, and competence needed in leading the BuCor.
Año said Bantag “brings with him the leadership skills and core values he learned in the BJMP which is a large and professional uniformed service of the DILG.”
As a professional and career BJMP official, Bantag is innately familiar with the Philippine penal system and culture.
With these qualities, Año said Bantag does not need a long transition as “he can immediately begin work to reform the systems in the BuCor.”
“Sa tingin ko, mahihirapan siyang paikotan ng mga ilang tiwali sa BuCor dahil alam na niya ang mga sistema at kalakaran sa ating mga kulungan (I think rogue BuCor personnel will find it diffcult to hoodwink him since he is already familiar with the jail system and the ins and outs of the penitentiary), ‘’ the DILG chief said.
He stressed the designation of a BJMP career official to head the BuCor is a “positive development for our country.”
With Bantag at the helm of BuCor, Año said this should be the beginning of real reforms that “we all have been waiting for in order to truly serve justice and maintain the integrity of our penal system’’.
“I urge Bantag to judiciously exercise his mandate and inculcate into his new assignment the professional culture of the DILG,’’ he added.
“Remember, you are not only accountable to the President but the entire Filipino people who are shocked and disappointed by the irregularities in the BuCor. In the hands of the right people, the problems of the BuCor are not insurmountable. As always, the BJMP and the DILG are ready to support you in your enormous responsibility,’’ Año concluded.