Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. turned over the management of the newly-built Negros Occidental District Jail in Barangay Tabunan, Bago City, that cost more than P100-million, to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology yesterday morning.
Marañon and BJMP chief, Director Rosendo Dial, signed a memorandum of agreement for the BJMP management takeover at rites held at the new jail.
The 411 inmates of the Negros Occidental provincial Jail, 10 of whom are women, will be transferred on July 15 if finishing touches on the new facility, that has a capacity for more than 600 inmates, is completed by then, Lt. Dionisio Silva, Provincial Jail Warden, said.
Marañon said the new jail will provide the inmates with a decent place to live in, and reform their lives. It will be more peaceful and comfortable, he said.
The provincial government has invested in a modern jail facility as the old one is dilapidated, congested, and an inhuman place to live in, he said.
The new jail facility is located next to a demonstration farm of the provincial government where organic crops are grown.
Perhaps the minimum security inmates can learn farming methods to prepare them to become more productive when they are released from jail, he said.
Dial assured the governor that the BJMP personnel will take good care of the new facility, treat the inmates humanely, and work at ensuring their reform.
BJMP personnel are equipped with skills development, rehabilitation and behavioral shaping tools for inmate reform, he said.
“We have better rehabilitation programs for the inmates and our personnel are trained on how to provide them with decent meals,” he added.
Inmates will also be segregated, depending on the gravity of their offenses. Those with drug-related offenses will be detained separately, Dial said.
The BJMP will bring in 30 of its guards while the provincial government will provide an additional 30, Dial said, pointing out that 60 will be enough, since the Bago jail is a very secure facility.
Silva said the NOPJ currently has 75 jail guards, 45 of whom will be given early retirement benefits.
Dial said he has yet to name the new head of the Negros Occidental District jail, who will also serve as the BJMP provincial administrator.
The BJMP will manage the jail, but the provincial government will continue to fund the food of the inmates and the maintenance of the facility during the next two years, pending the passage of a bill in Congress for the BJMP to take over all provincial jails, including the costs of running them, Dial said.
Bago Mayor Ramon Torre, who delivered the welcome remarks, said the new jail, that is one of the most modern facilities outside Metro Manila, will provide the inmates with dignity.
Also present at the turnover rites were Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr., Board Members Mae Javellana and Jose Benito Alonso, Valladolid Mayor Romel Yogore and Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso.
Msgr. Victorino Rivas led the mass and blessing of facility.*CPG