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THE SITUATION OF THE PHILIPPINE PENITENTIARIES

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An Update on the Study on the Condition of Jails
and Correctional Institutions in the Country
Commission on Human Rights

Universal standards applicable to everyone have been established with respect to prohibitions that exist in national and international laws against any form of treatment or punishment which violates human rights or fundamental freedoms. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The same principle embodied in the declaration was enforced and sustained with the adoption of the International Convention on the subject, entered into forced in 1987 by the UN Assembly. Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution specifically provides that the State values human dignity and guarantees full respect for human rights. This underscores that all persons are born with human dignity and inherent rights and that no one loses his dignity and these rights regardless of what he or she may have done. This policy of the state applies particularly to the treatment of prisoners and detainees under the correctional system they are in. Thus to ensure enforcement of this basic human rights policy, the Commission on Human Rights is mandated to “exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons and detention facilities” as stipulated in the Philippine Constitution. Hence, the Commission using both national and international standards on the treatment of prisoners and detainees and in investigating and monitoring the conditions they are in conducts on regular basis the spot checking of conditions obtaining in the various correctional institutions/ facilities in the country.

This report is a consolidation of the study on the conditions of jails and correctional institutions in the country undertaken in 1992, the reports on the regular visits undertaken by the regions over the years and the special visits in national penitentiaries conducted by the national office.

I. THE GENERAL STATE OF PHILIPPINE JAILS
Consistent with universal standards, the Philippine Government established its own national standards in reviewing its correctional system for prisoners/ detainees administered by the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Corrections and Bureau of Jails Management and Penology (BJMP) of the Department of Interior and Local Government. This correctional system consists of rehabilitation, and organized care and treatment program aimed at the promotion of the dignity of the confined persons in particular and the correctional community in general. Foremost, the provision of basic needs of prisoners is the prime factor to be fulfilled before any effective rehabilitation program can be committed and tackled. Though prisoners, they are still endowed with the same basic rights for human rights in common parlance are rights inherent in the nature of every individual without which he cannot live as a human being. By human standards, all accommodations provided for the use of inmates, particularly sleeping accommodations shall meet all requirements of health, with due regard to climactic conditions, particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting and ventilation. Further into the system is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary rehabilitation program aimed at the total human development of the inmates which cover education services, spiritual development, livelihood opportunity, enhancement and other welfare services inclusive of health and medical provisions.

During the past years that the CHR was monitoring conditions in jails and detention centers, majority of the facilities covered by the visits were found not fit for human confinement. It was observed and described as unlikely to rehabilitate, but certain to punish. Although this situation may solicit both approval and criticism. The inspections made by CHR regional offices revealed that more than 50% of the jails covered by the visits needed a gargantuan amount of reconditioning and restoration. The most common problem of prisoners/detainees was the insufficiency or lack of food provision due to the delay in release of food allotment and inadequate or unsanitary food preparation. In certain jails, food expenses were shouldered by police personnel and even relatives of inmates/detainees. It should be noted that the timeliness in the release of funds for the purpose’s of the essence to meet this basic need for survival. Another major problem is the prisoners/detainees’ shelter/living space. This refers to basic confinement areas where the prisoners live to complete their term. Their place of confinement has been a perennial problem for the prisoners/detainees. Inspectors encountered old, dilapidated, and congested buildings, no longer suited for human existence, defective comfort rooms resulting to unsanitary conditions, lack of sleeping paraphernalia and, undersized cells with poor ventilation and defective water system and even lack of potable water which is a basic source of life. A high percentage of jails also had poor lighting or no lighting facilities at all.

Due to these old prevailing problems, inmates have easily acquire different kinds of diseases. Based on reports recently, there was a rampant spread of boils (pigsa) and diarrhea among the prisoners/detainees. The absence of sufficient medical supplies and laboratory facilities noted in the various prison further compound this sorry plight of prisoners/ detainees.

Needing stricter observance and compliance are the constitutional guarantees for a person¹s rights and the national standards set by the BOC sets out premises for the prisoners/detainees rights. These rights are more often said to be illusory for the inmates. A number of inmates complained of various violations against their person. These include denial of the right to counsel and to speedy trial, illegal/arbitrary arrest/detention, torture, maltreatment/ physical injuries, sexual harassment/abuse against chastity as deprivations of right to basic services. Moreover, reports on inmates complaining that they are deprived of their right to a speedy trial is still much attendant to the present scenario. Other instances are—despite their long confinement, the court has not yet passed any final verdict yet due to slow disposition of cases by the courts and judges’ absenteeism among other reasons identified. There were also reports gathered that a number of inmates were stripped of their rights to a counsel due to the lack of it. More than a handful of detentions largely acknowledge the prisoner¹s right to be free from physical abuse and solitary confinement but the physical abuse the inmates’ encounter and endure is through the system of “mayores” or “gang-lordships” which is tolerated and condoned by prison guards and officials. As a result, interminable physical violence and deaths are deemed to be accepted in jails for they are condoned by the very officials who are expected to uphold and preserve their basic rights. This consequently makes the inmates¹ lives in constant danger rather than a safe place for rehabilitation.

At the Death Row of the NBP and CIW, the Commission has monitored the dormitory to be overcrowded and poorly ventilated that cause the convicts to suffer from illnesses. It also found out that Leo Echegaray, the first person sentenced to death since the re-imposition of the death penalty was in solitary confinement, although this restriction was lifted upon legal representation.

Conspicuously, the primordial factors obstructing the efficiency and effectiveness in the penal and rehabilitation administration are the sub-standard equipment and facilities, the shortage of manpower who have the expertise in dealing with inmates as men in uniform who crave for power capitalize on the vulnerable conditions of prisoners/detainees and the deficiency in budgetary allocations which are needed for the renovations and improvements of the physical structures.

More or less, observations on conditions obtaining in jails were the aspect of education and opportunities. Educational services to inmates are to some extent, provided under the rehabilitation system. The BOC particularly, oversees three stages of learning: elementary, high school and college that also includes vocational courses. This enables inmates to obtain a college degree in courses offered by the prison school system in collaboration with accredited colleges and universities. Learning other work activities is another form of rehabilitation, thus, livelihood training programs are provided to equip them with certain skills. Inmates are very much encouraged to engage in livelihood projects to practice their skills and earn for themselves or even their families. Their right to exercise religious belief or practices is the most enjoyed right of the inmates.

II. NATIONAL PENITENTIARIES: A CLOSER VIEW
Iwahig Penal Colony
The Iwahig Penal Colony (IPC) located at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, has 2,897 total population of prisoners. They are classified and distributed in the Central Colony and three (3) sub-colonies namely : the Inagawan, Montible, and Santa Lucia Sub- Colonies. Like the other colonies, IPC is classified into maximum, medium, and minimum securities. The most prevalent crimes committed by the prisoners are illegal fishing, illegal possession of firearms, rape, homicide and murder.

Most inmates particularly those in the medium and minimum security prison render their services to the colony and its employees. Some serve as household and medical care helpers without any compensation. Other prisoners work with compensation and divide themselves into ICAG or Inmates Community Assistance Group: they serve as the police of the colony or as a security within the colony; some work at the Industrial Section – they are makers of handicrafts and also involved in carpentry; and we have the General Services Section which are divided into maintenance section – they are those who are assigned in the maintenance of electricity and water supply; horticulture I – those who are in-charged of gardening; horticulture II – those who are in-charged with the production of fruit bearing trees; agronomy section I-II-III – those who are in-charged of the production of rice and the rice mill; salt-making section – those who are in-charged of the production of salt; soliman section – those who are in-charged in the fishponds; animal husbandry section – those who are in-charged of poultry, piggery, carabaos, cows and horses; transportation section – those who are in-charged of welding and repair of the vehicles of the Bureau; tractor post section – those who are in-charged of the maintenance of hand tractors for the use in the farm; and the balsahan section – those who are in-charged in the natural pools of the bureau and other tourist spots inside the colony.

Problems identified by the prisoners were as follows: congestion or overcrowding, food provisions are inadequate for normal human daily requirements, absence of adequate conjugal visitation rooms especially for out of town conjugal visitors, opening of personal letters, not allowing them to sell handicrafts to visitors, sanitation especially on toilet facilities/water supply, absence of sanitary inspectors, inadequate beds/beddings/mosquito nets, medical facility is inadequately supplied and poorly equipped, inadequacy of funds especially for malarial control projects, absence of continuous health education training program for health attendants/nurses, absence of adequate isolation rooms for communicable diseases, inadequate fumigation for mosquitoes and its breeding grounds, absence of ambulance, violent cause of death is still prevalent and lack of communication equipments. With regard to human rights abuses committed against them, they have varied answers. Some are often beaten-up by some guards and fellow prisoners who are in-charge of the discipline whenever they violated prison rules and regulations. They are usually abused by giving them household workloads and ordered them that these workloads should be immediately done. And if they are not accomplished on time, there¹s a corresponding punishment for them. And the major problem and concern of the living out prisoners is their chance of being released through pardon or parole.

With all the problems raised, there were suggestions and recommendations given. These are regionalization of Penal Institutions or improvement of rehabilitatory process; to adequately improve budgetary allocations to effect: employment of more staff/personnel, improvement of drug/ supplies situation, and improvement of penal facilities, buildings, accommodation, communication facilities etc.; the CHR shall evaluate the synopsis of prison record of the inmates and recommends the same to the board of Pardons and Parole for possible grant of any form of Executive Clemency; the CHR shall also follow-up the status of the application for amnesty of the political prisoners¹ concern and conveyed the result therein to the concern inmates; and lastly there should be a concrete government program on the newly released prisoners to help them cope on their life after their term.

San Ramon Prison And Penal Farm
The San Ramon Prison And Penal Farm is at Zamboanga City. It was built around the year 1912. Its security compound is 1 hectare and its penal farm is about 600 hectares. as of May 20, 1997, there were 851 prisoners/ inmates housed in the penal colony in different security status – maximum, medium and minimum security.

There were complete facilities and amenities that were being enjoyed by the inmates from administrative building to worship areas to entertainment building to medical infirmary and others. Their food are prepared by a private caterer at P22 a day per inmate. It is distributed by the form of rationing. Their major occupation is handicrafts making. Most of them were also working at the Agro-Industrial Section of the colony.
They also have this Reception and Diagnostic Center and Disciplinary Cells. Those inmates who are placed under this center are those who are recently admitted in the colony and they undergone a 60 days orientation program to prepare them in facing the long period of incarceration. Then after that, they were distributed in their corresponding cells. While the Disciplinary Cell are for those who violated the prison rules and regulations.

With regards to the problems they encountered, they¹re experiencing over-crowding living quarters; inadequate food for normal daily requirements; no designated place for conjugal visits; letters being opened; slow processing of amnesty application and others.

Another problem that worry them most is the place to go after they¹re released. Some were already old, some have fear for the reprisals of their families and relatives, and no work to support themselves or nobody would accept them for employment because they¹re ex-convict.

Recommendations such as evaluation of the synopsis of prison record and recommending the same to the Board of Pardons and Parole for possible grant of any form of Executive Clemency such as commutation of sentence, pardon (conditional) and parole; following-up of the status of the application for amnesty and conveyed the result to the concern inmates; and a concrete government program on the newly released prisoners should be given attention.

Sablayan Prison And Penal Farm
The Sablayan Prison And Penal Farm (SPPF) is situated at Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. It was established by President Ramon Magsaysay through Executive Order No.547 on January 14, 1954. And it was opened on the 26th of June 1954.

At present, the SPPF have 909 colonists which were distributed/ divided into their different securities and sub-prisons, in a receiving station and in a special project. The following are the list of sub-prisons with its corresponding distributions of colonists:
a. Central Sub-Prison 570 colonists
b. Pasugui Sub-Prison 129 colonists
c. Siburan Sub-Prison 120 colonists
d. San Vicente De Prospero Sub-Prison 80 colonists
e. Pusog Special Project 8 colonists
f. San Jose Receiving Station 2 colonists

Most colonists complained of rigorous working condition in the penal colony. They undergone massive farming and cultivation/ transformation of lands, breaking of stones, clearing of the area and cutting of forested lands. But proper discipline towards the colonists are just being enforced that¹s why they undergone these kind of work.

They also complained of other problems such as lack of facilities for conjugal visits, very slow processing of their documents for executive clemency, and the distance from their family or love ones is a major source of anxiety and concern because they can¹t be visited easily. Scarcity of writing materials and the cost of mails in which the postage is almost a luxury for them are another aired problems. There were also lack of basic laboratories, facilities, x-ray facilities, both medical and dental, and lack of standard wards.
On the other hand, at the SPPF, over crowding is not present. There¹s a very good over all sanitation and prospects for a more self-supporting colony as far as food and nutritional supplies are concerned. And there¹s a primary health care unit manned by two (2) doctors, a nurse, a pharmacist and a dentist. And there¹s also an on-site case hearing activity provided by a visiting judge with his full-court staff and the Public Attorney’s Office provides them with lawyers.

Thus, SPPF is a well supervised colony. But still, the Assistance and Visitorial Office shall continue in reviewing the synopsis submitted by the inmates and get their records directly from the officers in-charge. The Commission on Human Rights shall work together with the Bureau of Pardons and Parole and act together to follow-up the records of those inmates ready for signatures and approval of the President. And lastly, the commission shall continue with its Philippine Human Rights Plan for Prisoners/Inmates Sector to prevent abuse or maltreatment.

New Bilibid Prison
The New Bilibid Prison is located at BuCor, Muntinlupa City.
Basic necessities of the prisoners such as electricity, fire radiation safety were generally satisfactory in condition, life saving medicines were available at the emergency room and water supply comes from several deep wells run by pumps. The buildings and wards were generally clean but it needs to be repainted for a better protection against inclement weathers. Inmates¹ food allocation per day is P20.00. There¹s also a non-formal, non-degree system of education for maximum prison inmates that includes functional literacy for 6 months; a vocational livelihood for 1-2 years for electronics, paper making, silk and commercial screening, etc.; and the CARPETA or Correctional Artist Reformed Prisoners Educational Theater Association, where painters, singers and the like improve on their talents, while for those in the medium security, there¹s a formal system of education that has a tie-up with the Perpetual Help College of Las Pi??from Elementary Level up to College. Recreational and spiritual provisions for inmates also exists with in the penitentiary.

But nevertheless, common problems were still present at this security compound. Problems such as decongested prison cells e.g. 75 inmates per cell considering that it¹s good for only 35 inmates; very slow processing of papers with regards to the status of their request for executive clemency; and deficient water supply.

Recommendation with regards to the fast processing of the prisoners’ request for executive clemency; all factors affecting healing and/or recovery should be improved, harmonized and focused for them; increased allocation per inmate per day; and providing them with proper ambulance shall be given enough attention.

Leyte Regional Prison
The Leyte Regional Prison (LRP) was created by virtue of P.D. No. 28 and was established on January 16, 1973 under Presidential Decree No. 1101. It is located in Brgy. Mahagna, Abuyog, Leyte some sixty-six (66) kilometers from Abuyog town proper. It is situated on a 861.66 hectares forested area on top of a mountain surrounded by mountain ranges. It is also composed of two communities: the enclosed community and the open community. Prisoners who are in the enclosed community are those who belong to the medium and maximum security while prisoners who are in the minimum security belong to the open community.

It was built to receive, confine, secure and rehabilitate convicted criminals classified as national prisoners whose sentences range from three (3) years and one (1) day imprisonment or above. Most prisoners came from Region VIII comprising the provinces in the islands of Samar, Leyte and Biliran.

As of March 19, 1997 there are about nine hundred eighty (980) prisoners housed in this regional prison with 204 at the maximum security, 550 at the medium security and 226 at the minimum security prison.

Prisoners within the prison compound are usually engaged in handicrafts while those who are living-out prisoners are engaged in farming and also in handicrafts making. Others are household helpers who received some simple tokens and small compensation.
Problems identified at the LRP are as follows: living conditions in the medium and maximum barracks are below human standards with regards to shelter and facilities; food provisions are distributed by ration system at a budget of P20.00 per day per inmate; hospital facility is a dilapidated improvised building with make shift wooden beds and inadequately supplied with medicines and equipments; lacks nutritional facility and the services of a qualified nutritionist or dietitian; inadequate hygiene and sanitation installations; lacking of jail guards ideally 1 guard is to 6 prisoners; but presently it¹s 1:28) and sudden increase in 1996 mortality rate.

More so, there were two kinds of abuses present at LRP. One is the maltreatment committed against the prisoners by the “mayores of the pangkat”. It is committed usually against those who violated the prison rules and regulations. It is inflicted through fist blows, use of “batuta”, withholding of food ration and suspension of privilege visits from inmates families, relatives and friends. Inmate violators are usually placed at the disciplinary cell for a certain period upon the discretion of the prison authorities through the mayores¹ recommendation. Another is the maltreatment inflicted by the prison authorities/employees against those living-out prisoners especially those who worked as household helpers. Small mistakes might even caused their life because of beatings or “pambubugbog”.

The primary objectives and concerns of the visit are to evaluate the physical conditions of the penitentiary and the prisoners itself, the food and water provisions, the health and medical facilities and the system of access to available resources and facilities. So, with the problems that were identified necessary recommendations shall be provided to solve and lighten the burden.

III. CONSOLIDATED CHR INTERVENTIONS AND ACTIONS
Legal Aid and Counseling Services
To ensure that the welfare and rights of the prisoners/detainees are protected and secured, the Commission continuously conducts various forms of legal assistance, such as referral and representations with concerned agencies, follow-up of cases with the Department of Justice for speedy trial and resolution and appeals for executive clemency from the President. It also endorses and makes recommendations to the Board of Pardons and Parole for release of inmates who are qualified for absolute pardon and parole. CHR lawyers at the Central and Regional offices review the inmates¹ records to determine if they are already qualified for pardon or parole, or if they have already served their terms and therefore should be released. For instance, in 1996, through a petition for habeas corpus filed before the Supreme Court, the Commission interceded and successfully released (3) prisoners convicted under RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended by RA 7659, which reduced the penalties of the offender determinant of the quantity of the drugs transported or possessed among other things amended. Therefore, the prisoners have already served their terms as a result of the amendment. Moreover, since its creation in 1987, the Commission has interceded for the release of prisoners/detainees to include those who have been illegally detained or unlawfully incarcerated. Through its representations and efficacious services, a total of 627 prisoners/detainees were freed, covering the period 1988-1996 for they were kept in custody and confinement beyond their prescribed sentence/s and in like manner, the CHR successfully recommended their parole or pardon. This number, however, does not include those who were illegally detained or unlawfully incarcerated.

In 1996, the Commission on Human Rights [CHR], and the Free Legal Assistance Group [FLAG] entered into an agreement to give assistance and service to death row convicts. FLAG¹s responsibilities involved handling the appeals 30-40 death row convicts, covering research, investigation, preparation and filing of appellant¹s briefs; coordinating with and interviewing the death row convicts; and monitoring developments in the Supreme Court relative to the cases of capital punishment in the country. CHR¹s provided funding support to FLAG to enable it to handle the appeals of indigent prisoners meted the death penalty and tasked to document the incidence of capital punishment and profiling all death row convicts, and periodically visiting the Death Row and monitoring the needs of the death row convicts, assigning CHR lawyers to handle the appeals of these death row convicts, in collaboration with FLAG; and monitoring the progress in the provision of legal services to the death row convicts.

FLAG has already handled 53 death penalty cases including Echegaray¹s case and the lifting of his restriction to solitary confinement. However, the High Tribunal affirmed his conviction on February 7, 1997, sentenced by lethal injection unless stopped by an executive clemency from the President. His execution will be the first in more than twenty years.

It is FLAG and CHR’s belief that the death penalty is cruel, degrading and inhuman; that it has no basis that it deterred the commission of heinous crimes; that the system of judicial review is inadequate to correct the risk of mistaken executions and it blatantly violates the Equal Protection Clause. It further reiterates that capital punishment has no place in any civilized society. It is nothing more than a deliberate killing of a human being by the State in violation of the rights to life and dignity. Moreover, information indicated that death sentence has been imposed predominantly upon the impoverished and disadvantaged sectors in our society. A seminar was mainly conducted for lawyers and paralegal handling these cases to enhance their skills, substantiate and enrich their technical knowledge in assisting of death penalty convicts’ appeals.

It was also taken into account that most of the convicts’ age range from thirty to forty years old, the youngest among them all is nineteen years old. Nine of them were college graduates and the others were either college or high school dropouts and the rest did not even finish primary school. There were also others who never studied at all. None of the convicts speak English as their language of communication. Tagalog and Cebuano are widely spoken and understood among them. One of them is a foreign national and comprehends and speaks Nihongo. Half of the convicts were convicted of rape, others were convicted for murder, kidnapping and homicide with robbery and the rest were convicted of drug-related offenses.

The profile evidently suggests that most of the death row convicts belong to the lower classes of society, the needy, the ill-fated, disadvantaged and the dispossessed. This explicitly reveals that the poor could hardly afford competent legal services. It is unfortunate that there are no guidelines and measures to regulate the type and kind of counsel designated to persons charged with capital offenses. Because no standards exist, regardless of guilt or innocence, poor persons charged with such crimes may not under go fair trials. In this juncture, one can conclude that the death penalty is a discrimination against the poor alike.

It is for this reason that FLAG and the Commission stand firm in advocating for the repeal of the death penalty laws, for there is an immense risk of mistaken executions due to judicial error or prosecutorial misconduct also, there is prevalence of inexperience and ineffective counsels. Most of all, the death penalty violates the Constitutional provision of equal protection of the laws, as it has the effect of discriminating against the poor.

HR Trainings for Jail/ Prison Personnel
The CHR employs a variety of means to encourage greater respect for human rights over the long term. One of the measures is the conduct of various human rights education projects e.g. trainings, seminars, lectures to military and other law-enforcement agencies to reorient their personnel towards an awareness on human rights and their responsibility to respect and protect the rights of civilians including prisoners and detainees. Before the creation of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), jail wardens, prison officials and its personnel were classified under the category of law enforcers. However, in 1995, the inclusion of correction/ jail wardens and its personnel to undertake human rights education was strengthened through the issuance of Presidential Memorandum Order No. 259 which renders human rights education mandatory, not only among military or law enforcers, but also with prosecutors and prison and correction officers.

Since 1987 to present, CHR has embarked on numerous HR education projects for BJMP and Bureau of Corrections¹ personnel. Among these are the National Trainors Courses, National Advocacy Courses, Regional Trainors Training Program (RTTP), lectures, orientations, symposium and BHRAO Training. Records show that a total of 269 BJMP participants attended the education programs and broken down as follows: Advocacy courses, 60; RTTP, 53; and orientation seminars, 150, respectively.

Financial Assistance
From 1989 to the first quarter of 1998, 247 prisoners who were unjustly incarcerated with alleged crimes as illegal possession of firearms and illegal assembly were provided Financial Assistance. Their conviction ranges from years of imprisonment wherein they served in full or served more than their term due to lack of legal assistance. With the help of the Commission on Human Rights, their cases were reassessed and said prisoners were acquitted. The CHR provided financial assistance amounting to P 1,557,500.00 broken down as shown on the chart below.

Table
Prisoners/ Detainees Unjustly Incarcerated
Provided With Financial Assistance
1989 – 1998 (1st Qtr.)
Year
P 10,000
P 5,000,000
No. Beneficiaries
Amount
1989
2
2
4
30,000
1990

4
4
20,000
1991
1
1
2
15,000
1992
1
1
2
15,000
1993

1994
13

13
130,000
1995
34

34
340,000
1996
7
180 members
187
970,000
1997
3

3
30,000
1998

1
7,500
Medical Mission
Through its Forensic Division, the CHR has been conducting medical missions in Penal Colonies/ Farm, Provincial/ Municipal Jails/ Detention Centers since 1990 to render medical examinations to prisoners/ detainees. Medical missions are done nationwide. Medicines are given to prisoners with minor ailment while those who need medical assistance are recommended for further treatment. Medical missions are timed on special events like CHR Foundation Day (May 5), Human Rights Week (Dec. 3-5), and Prisons Day which is held sometime in November. On these events medicines/ drugs donated by UNILAB are distributed to inmates.

On their regular monitoring missions, the CHR¹s medical team evaluate the status of medical services and the general health conditions of prisoners/ inmates. Poor physical amenities and poor sanitation are the major causes of the different diseases afflicting prisoners/ detainees.

IV. RECOMMENDATIONS
A. CHR LEVEL
1. CHR should work for its regular membership in the Inter-Agency Coordinating Network involving line government agencies tasked with the over all supervision, administration and control of the Philippine Penal and Correctional System such as DOJ, Bureau of Corrections, Board of Pardons and Parole, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. CHR¹s regular membership in the Committee can enhance reporting and representation of critical observations and findings and may also help facilitate action/s thereof.

2. CHR through its Regional Offices should develop a Situationer Report on each of the jails/ detention centers within their jurisdiction highlighting critical conditions requiring immediate action by concerned authorities for appropriate endorsement.

3. CHR should continue with its Philippine Human Rights Plan for Prisoners/Inmates Sector in cooperation with the Sectoral Working Group and the Bureau of Correction to facilitate advancement of the various legislative, administrative and program measures for prisoners and detainees.

4. CHR should continue with its Human Rights Training Program for jail authorities and personnel for improvement In the observance of standards in the treatment of prisoners/ detainees. The training should also cover BUCOR personnel as well as personnel at the provincial jails which have not been represented in past HRTPs.

5. CHR should review the national standards for the treatment of prisoners/ detainees as set by the BUCOR and BJMP against international standards as provided in International Human Rights Instruments and recommend adjustments in laws, rules and regulations.

6. CHR should establish standard indicators and system to evaluate, on periodic basis the human rights conditions prisoners/ detainees and determine whether jails and detention centers meet national and international standards.

7. CHR with the BJMP should jointly put up services and assistance program which will enlist the participation and cooperation of NGOs.

8. The CHR¹s Assistance and Visitorial Office should continue in reviewing the synopsis submitted by inmates and getting their concrete records directly from the officers-in-charge and recommending the same to the Board of Pardons and Parole for possible grant of any form of Executive Clemency such as commutation of sentence, pardon (conditional) and parole.

9. The CHR should hand in hand with the Bureau of Pardons and Parole act together to follow-up the records of those inmates ready for signatures and approval of the President.

10. The CHR should also follow-up the status of the application for amnesty of the political prisoners’ concern and convey the result therein to the concern inmates.
B. EXECUTIVE LEVEL
1. Development of a concrete government program for the newly released prisoners to help them cope with their new life after their term.

2. Complete staffing of Bureau of Corrections¹ personnel, particularly prison guards; and also the BJMP personnel in city and municipal jails to enable the Bureau to completely take over the management, supervision and control of all jails still manned by the PNP.

3. Prompt and systematic release and disbursement of operational funds to city and municipal jails, particularly allotment for prisoners’ sustenance.

4. Regular reporting and systematic monitoring of jail activities/ conditions to higher authorities to expedite speedy administrative, preventive, protective and other remedial measures.

5. Construction of additional jails and immediate renovation of old/ dilapidated/ destroyed jails to solve congestion problems and lessen security risk.

6. Acquisition of high technology equipment such as firearms, communication system, etc. for effective security control and monitoring of jail activities.

7. Expansion and implementation of the education/ training/ work programs for all types of prisoners.

8. Putting up of library facilities in all jails/ rehabilitation institution for use of prisoners are also recommended.

C. LEGISLATIVE LEVEL
1. Consolidation/ codification of all laws, guidelines, rules and regulations pertaining to penology and correction for purposes of establishing an integrated system of punishment and rehabilitation covering all levels, types or classification of prisoners/ detainees, as well as effective monitoring of all penal/ correctional institutes in the country.

2. Establishment of Regional Prisons in Regions I, II, III, V, VIII, IX and X to decongest the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) other Penal Farms and provincial jails which are overcrowded as they also temporarily house national prisoners.

3. Local policy measures for observance of international standards on the care, custody and treatment of prisoners, particularly in the area of prevention of torture and cruel and degrading punishment; food sustenance; living accommodations; and compulsory education for illiterate and youth prisoners.

4. Increase in budgetary allocations/ appropriations to effect employment of more staff/personnel; improvement of drug/ supplies situation; and improvement of penal facilities, buildings, accommodation, communication facilities etc..

5. All factors affecting healing and/or recovery should be improved, harmonized and focused for the prisoners,

6. Providing them with proper ambulance should be given enough attention.

7. Fiscal provisions for higher compensation and other benefits of jail personnel that are just and commensurate to the kind of service and risk of exposure.

8. Exemption from the Attrition Law (RA 7430) to enable the filling-up of vacancies for prison guards.

D. JUDICIARY LEVEL
1. Establishment of mobile or circuit courts in detention centers to facilitate the speedy disposition of cases.

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