CORRECTIONS ACT OF 2012: In Summary
- Finally a law that would push the Bureau of Corrections from its base reference of Prison Law of 1917 to the present times (with SB 3335 re An Act Strengthening the Bureau of Corrections and providing Funds Therefor otherwise known as Corrections Act of 2012) through a bill which has been approved for passage and eventually for review and signature of the President.
- The proposed law had three versions at the level of Congressional Committee. As soon as it was forwarded to the Senate, it has been reformulated under the Committee on Justice and the Senate Committee Report no. 487 (under the sponsorship of Senator Chiz Escudero and Senator Franklin Drilon) and it eventually became SB 3335.
- The Bill was discussed and deliberated in August 9, 2011 and eventually was approved on third reading last December 17, 2012. Once signed by the President, it becomes a law in 15 days as stipulated.
- The Bill, which is expected to be signed into a law early next year, has the following features:
- The State recognizes the need to professionalize and restructure Bucor through upgrading its entire management system.
- The law effectively made the Bureau of Corrections a uniformed bureau.
- As a uniformed bureau, the compulsory retirement age is 56 years old.
- The head of the bureau is referred to as Director General with three deputy directors—all of them to be appointed by the President as recommended by the Secretary of Justice. They have a term of office not to exceed 6 years.
- The Bureau shall operate with a directorial structure. (Hence Reception and Diagnostic Center will be renamed as Directorate for Reception and Diagnostics, etc.)
- All Bucor lands accordingly shall proceed to work on the administrative process and have a certificate of title registered under its name.
- The law likewise contemplates the formation of a Philippine Corrections Academy patterned after PNPA and PMA.
- Position title of personnel is changed. From Prison Guard I, it will henceforth be Corrections Officer I. The highest position in the career ladder which is Penal Superintendent IV will be called Corrections Chief Superintendent.
- All positions in the Bureau of Corrections shall be governed by CSC rule on Qualification Standards. Those without eligibility therefore will be given 5 years within which to qualify or would be subject to attrition, that is, separated or retired from the service.
- The law effectively increases one grade higher than the previous base line grade for officers at the top and those at the rear have an increase of five salary grade (from prison guard 1, salary grade 5 to Corrections Officer 1 at salary grade 10.)
Note: Congress approved on third reading almost the same version as what the Senate earlier approved. On the last week of January, 2013, Congress sent to Senate the bill for the Bicameral review. It has been resolved that the Bill will be submitted to the President, who certified the same on its urgency. The BuCor Act of 2013 is hopefully a law about to be born this year. But there is a catch. The appropriation for said law will take effect five years from the date the law has been passed.