Caught off-guard

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Monday, September 1, 2014

CITING budgetary constraints, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) National Headquarters has decided to pull out all its personnel at the Operation Second Chance (OSC) in Cebu City, a facility for juvenile delinquents.

BJMP wrote Cebu City Hall that its decision will take effect 60 days after the local government received the letter.

Cebu City Administrator Dr. Lucelle Mercado, Councilor Gerardo Carillo and Department of Social Welfare Services chief Dr. Ester Concha confirmed the BJMP decision yesterday. They are all members of the OSC Management Board.


Concha told Sun.Star Cebu BJMP wants to pull out all its jail officers because of budgetary constraints.

She said BJMP also pointed out that running a correctional and rehabilitation facility for children in conflict with the law is not part of its mandate but is the main responsibility of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Concha said BJMP’s budget is strained because the bureau also shoulders the meals of children in conflict with the law inside the OSC. She added that BJMP spends about P50 per meal for every minor offender.

The OSC, which sits on a 6,000-square-meter property in Barangay Kalunasan, houses at least 200 minors.

This means BJMP spends an average of P30,000 a day for the meals of juvenile delinquents or about P900,000 a month. This would translate to P10.8 million a year.

Concha said the Cebu City Government allots at least P7 million a year for the operations of the OSC.


Councilor Gerardo Carillo, chairperson of the City Council's committee on social services, appealed to the BJMP to reconsider its decision. He said that if BJMP personnel will be pulled out, minor offenders might escape or chaos might occur inside the facility.

He told Sun.Star Cebu that City Hall can help BJMP find funds to run the OSC. He noted, though, that the City Government provides fuel for BJMP vehicles and monthly allowances to bureau personnel at the OSC.

The Cebu City Government gives P4,000 a month to BJMP personnel assigned to the OSC.

Carillo said he talked with DSWD 7 Director Mercedita Jabagat but the latter told him that the agency does not have funds to run and manage the OSC.

Mercado said in a separate interview that the OSC management board, headed by Judge Ester Veloso of the Regional Trial Court, passed a resolution last Friday asking BJMP not to pull out its personnel.


Mercado said the City Government will also write to the BJMP headquarters to request that it reconsider its decision.

The OSC began operating in 2002. The BJMP and the Cebu City Government signed a memorandum of agreement on the management of the facility, which was established to also accommodate minor offenders from other local government units in Cebu.

Children in conflict with the law who are referred to the facility can avail of psychological and psycho-social services, health and medical services, legal services and education among others.

Carillo said the OSC received recognition from the United Nations International Children Fund (Unicef) as a model facility in rehabilitating minor offenders.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 02, 2014.

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