Lawmaker wants increase in daily subsistence allowance of BJMP inmates

A lawmaker is proposing an increase in the subsistence allowance for inmates to provide prisoners with adequate and decent meals. Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) filed House Bill No. 6124 which seeks to adjust the cost of daily subsistence allowance of every inmate in a local jail from PhP 50 to PhP 100.

The bill also seeks the tie-up between the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Local Government Units (LGUs) for the establishment of secondary jails to decongest local prisons.

Castelo said a 2011 report of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) showed local jails are congested by an average of 400 percent. “The Manila City Jail, to cite an example, was built only for 1,000 inmates but had 5,300 in that year. Muntinlupa was about 500 percent over its normal capacity,” Castelo explained.

Castelo said such overcrowding leads to inadequate sleeping spaces, toilet facilities, and health concerns. “Thus, there results a health and welfare issues to be addressed since these inhumane conditions of our local jails are crying out for reform, not least because only the poor and the powerless seem to be at the receiving end of such bureaucratic failure,” he said.

Castelo said under the proposed measure, the LGUs are given the initiative and motivation to actually complement the BJMP since the individuals or persons in the jail shall be considered constituents of the LGUs and as such part of the community or public that the LGUs serve.

The bill provides that the amount necessary to implement the provisions of this Act shall be augmented from the national budget upon the approval of this measure and every year after. It further states that the concerned LGU may cause a certain percent of its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the establishment of secondary jails within its territorial jurisdiction.