Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 (RA 10575): On the matter of preparing its IRR

pres signs law

 

A law before it becomes operational must have an Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).  Without an IRR the law would remain generic and more of a wishful idea only.  There should be a vehicle on which the legal provisions would be carried out.  The preparation of an IRR therefore is more difficult, more cumbersome and more sensitive.  This is where the law will be gauged.  It would be the barometer for its success or failure.

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The President signed Republic Act 10575 otherwise known as the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 into law on May 24, 2013.  Accordingly, a 90-day period is mandated on which to formulate its IRR.  Hence, on August 24, 2013, (the end of the 90 day period—assuming that the law has been published in the Official Gazette or has been published in at least two newspapers of general circulation) the IRR should already be issued.   The law states, Sec. 23 of RA 10575 states thus:  “Implementing Rules and Regulations.  The DOJ, in coordination with the Bucor, the CSC, the DBM and the Department of Finance (DOF), shall, within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this Act.”

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When the law was passed the Bucor leadership immediately directed the composition of a team to work on the IRR.  It is the same team, which labored the draft of the law that went through the legislative gauntlet.  The process of facilitating a new law was a difficult and challenging proposition.  Tenacity is a kind word that would describe the character of those who pursued it.  Sustaining the interest and weathering the bureaucratic maze are but a few complicated acts, which any team went through.  It is therefore one intrepid struggle that must be conducted to come up with a desired outcome.  Of course, its relevance cannot be discounted since the trouble that erupted in the prison service served as its ignition fuse.

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For the past few years, the prison service was a struggling government agency trying its level best to be responsive to the challenges of the times.  For the last five years, there were changes in the prison leadership almost on a semestral basis.  There were charges of negligence amounting to escape and violence, of allowing VIP treatment among a select group of celebrity prisoners,  of failure to control inmates pursuing criminal operations from within, of losing power in managing the security affairs of the prison community, and more.  Worst, it is the lowly prison personnel who were even blamed for any correctional malady.

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Legislation is therefore called to address the situation.  In the minds of lawmakers, the agency must therefore be strengthened to have an upper hand in the management of the prison system and in the proper treatment of prisoners.

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RA 10575 has among its provisions the following, which can be emphasized in its IRR.  First, the definition of reformation/rehabilitation in terms of programs.  Second, the formation of Directorates.  Third, and this is significant, a provision on prison lands.  Fourth,  a description of facilities according to standards.  Fifth, change in position nomenclature and increase of manpower pursuant to effective ratio.  Sixth, the call for professionalization and upgrading of qualification standards and the corresponding salary grades through standardization of base pay.  And seventh, the evolution of the agency into a uniformed bureau.

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The IRR should supply the details and the particulars.  To start with, a draft IRR has already been outlined to serve as working paper for DOJ purposes.  It has been a joint effort between experts in corrections and those tasked to devise the draft IRR.  It is, to start with, an improved discussion of the law , a clearer version, with greater perspective and brighter.  The draft enhanced the grammatically inferior stipulations and re-worded typographical assertions.  It is almost a fair representation of what prison administration needed.  The next step would be, its submission to DOJ for the final touches.

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For Bucor administration, this is a new leaf and a historical one at that.

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About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on June 17, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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