BUCOR IN 2013: AN OPTOMISTIC FORECAST
There will be an alignment of political forces. Bucor will either have a leadership vacuum for a period, relying mainly on the guidance of a designated Officer in Charge—one who may be competent to handle the reign but could not flex any initiative without inviting complications. Or DOJ may finally decide to recommend a prison director from a list of applicants. Normally, the DOJ Secretary may submit a short list to the President as soon as the former Director, who resigned lately, accepts the resignation. In some instances, well, historically, the President using his vast prerogative appoints someone he personally knows or one who carries his complete trust.
Once a new director is appointed, there will, as usual, be a mad scramble for attention. Subservience will initially make its presence felt as a principal attribute. There will be sniping and vetting (or background investigations). Suddenly, dossiers will circulate. If the prison leadership will come from the ranks of retired military officers, intelligence courses and an air of martial discipline will pervade the air. If the prison leadership will come from the ranks of the police, then there will be a lot of haggling and interrogations. Since prison administration is a specialty which has no military or police component, except for the ambiguous security term, the learning and orientation period will predominate the whole semestral period for the leadership. It is only then when stability is achieved in the organization.
Regional or provincial affiliations will smack the air of institutional relations. And since the prison community is primarily people, there will also be representations from their end. Here is when the prison personnel would suffer a drawback if the impressions will be reckoned haphazardly. Traditionally, the prison community is anathema on the presence of prison officers. Their interests are in direct contradiction with one another. Their commonality merely lay only on the emotional content of the environment. When gangs or a specific prisoner would successfully gain the attention of leadership, the natural outcome would be negative for the prison officers. Here is where the prison leadership would have to resort to a balancing act.
Meanwhile, the personnel—the civilian and custodial personnel—are all in the anticipation mode for the passage of Senate Bill 3335 otherwise known as the Bureau of Corrections Act (passed and approved on third reading by the 15th Congress under the sponsorship of Senator Chiz Escudero and Senator Franklin Drilon) into a law once the President affixes his signature. It would surely create a dramatic impact on the organization. From a purely civilian outfit, Bucor under the proposed law would become a uniformed institution. Those appointed at the helm will have a term of office not to exceed 6 years.
Attrition will come alive with the provision that only those with civil service eligibility are qualified for any given item in the organization. There will also be a number of retirement applications coming from the row of senior officers and heads of divisions. The compulsory retirement age of 56 will be the norm.
The minimum requirements per qualification standards for items in the agency will be increased thereby forcing those who fell short to rectify and remedy the deficiency within five years.
There will also be a serious conference in formulating a plan to establish a Corrections Academy patterned after the military and police academy.
As soon as the law (Corrections Act) takes effect, its implementing rules and regulations will have to be fashioned out in 90 days. It is therefore expected to alter if not amend comprehensively the prison rules in the treatment of prisoners.
As certain as the year 2013 is over, the entire Bureau of Corrections will have a brand new administrative and operative façade which can equal the corrective services of all countries in Southeast Asia.
For those who came into the agency at this juncture (and those hoping for real and serious changes), the prospects of working in a progressive institution is an encouraging possibility already. Professionalism will therefore augur well in every corner.
The same can be said, expectedly, as far as treatment and handling of the incarcerated humanity are concerned.