REPUBLIC ACT 10575 (Otherwise known as “The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013”)
This Act is a consolidation of House Bill 6887 and Senate Bill 3335 and was approved by the President on May 24, 2013. It has become a law known as RA 10575. As such, it is described as an act strengthening the Bureau of Corrections and providing funds therefor. Accordingly, the “State shall provide for the modernization, professionalization and restructuring of the Bureau of Corrections by upgrading its facilities increasing the number of its personnel, upgrading the level of qualifications of their personnel and standardizing their base pay, retirement and other benefits.”
The IRR to be formulated should not only conform with the intention of the law but it should likewise address what has been operative as principles previously considered in the Prison Law of 1917, Presidential Decrees during Martial Law and the provisions of the 1987 Administrative Code.
Note that under Prison Law of 1917, the foundation of penal institutions were highlighted including the powers and jurisdiction of prison administration. Presidential Decrees were likewise issued determining the status and organization of penal colonies into regular prisons. The 1987 Administrative Code went overboard with the renaming of the Bureau of Prisons into Bureau of Corrections.
Note further that Corrections is a field that comprises institutional and non-institutional approaches. Institutional Corrections includes Prisons, Jails, Locks ups, Detention Centers, Custodial Camps. Non-institutional Corrections includes Probation, Parole and those within Conditional Pardon. All these are subsumed under Corrections. Hence, when there are incidents pertaining matters of corrective importance or significance, immediately the agency concerned is the Bureau of Corrections—as the name suggest. In reality however, it is not how it was defined. The Bureau of Corrections is only concerned about Prisons. Jails fall under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, an agency directly under the Department of Interior and Local Government. Provincial Jails are under the Provincial Governors. Lock ups under the Philippine National Police. Detention Centers under law enforcement agencies like NBI, BI, and DSWD. Custodial camps under AFP. Probation and Parole is supervised by the Probation and Parole Administration, another agency under the Department of Justice.
Then, finally, a law on correctional reforms was issued. Contemplated in newly signed RA 10575 is the safekeeping and reformation of national inmates—those sentenced to more than three years. Not included are those who are unsentenced yet and those who were released through legal intervention. In other words, what is intended to be strengthened is the agency involved in the maintenance and management of prisons only.
RA 10575 intends to restructure the agency, Bureau of Corrections, into a uniformed bureau. As such, personnel will retire at the age of 56. And its mandate is to be pursued through directorial structure: The Directorate for Reception and Diagnostics, Directorate for External Relations and Administrative Directorates. Specific provisions in the law deliberate the strengthening process through training (establishment of Philippine Correctional Academy), upgrading of qualification for those designated in managerial positions in penal colonies, requirements for promotion, standardization of base pay and benefits and annual reporting system.
RA 10575 is a step towards a progressive direction to improve the criminal justice administration through a segment of the corrective service.