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BJMP bags Gold Trailblazer Award for groundbreaking coreprocesses addressing penal system challenges

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) unveiled two innovative core processes to address overcrowding, reoffending, and other pressing issues within Philippine jails during a public revalida last September 28 with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA). 

BJMP bagged the Gold Trailblazer Award and was conferred the Initiation Status under ISA’s good governance framework, Performance Governance System (PGS). The public revalida is a democratic exercise that validates the public institutions’ completion of the four stages of the PGS. Enrolled institutions include the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Health, among others. 

The revalida presentation was led by BJMP Chief JDir Ruel S Rivera, who assumed acting chief of the BJMP in March 2023. BJMP embarked on its PGS journey in April 2023 and positioned itself to “meet the national standards for responsive and holistic jail management guided by global best practices.” 

During his presentation, JDir Rivera reported that nearly 100,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) were reintegrated into society last year, while over 27,000 became re-offenders based on the 2022 jail population. He identified the lack of proper PDL assessment and care from jail to the community as “the missing links in elevating [BJMP’s] service quality.” 

“In response to the growing public demand for accountability and service growth, we have thus redefined our Bureau’s core services into four: classification, safekeeping, development, and reintegration,” he added.

From its two-fold mandate to providing humane safekeeping and developmental opportunities for PDLs, the PGS framework led BJMP to formulate strategies to address the gaps and include classification and reintegration in its core functions.

“With PGS, we were able to create a strategy from the potential of our two-fold mandates. We can now identify the PDL’s custodial risks, hence resulting in reduced security risks [and] give targeted interventions to each PDL based on classification and assessment of his specific needs. Reintegration, in turn, serves as the logical development end-point of any individual impacted by the criminal justice system,” he said. “Safekeeping and development remain front and center in our service delivery.” 

Former BJMP Chief and revalida panelist JDir Allan S. Iral (Ret) praised the Bureau for achieving significant milestones in just a short period. 

“Looking at the presentation of Chief Rivera, in the few months na OIC siya ng Bureau, napakalaki na ng achievements na nagawa ng BJMP. There’s a strong buy-in from the top management. Hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy itong PGS journey ng Bureau,” he said. 

Other revalida panelists include BGen Joel Paloma, Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and Panel Chair; Mr. Serafin B. Barretto Jr., Undersecretary for Public Safety at the Department of Interior and Local Government; Atty. Jamaal James Calipayan, City Administrator of the City Government of Mandaue; and Prof. Raymund Narag, Associate Professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

In his acceptance speech, JDir Rivera extended his gratitude to external stakeholders, the panelists, and all their employees. 

“This achievement serves as a testament to the commitment of our Bureau to strive for excellence and continued improvement. It is a validation of the path we seek to traverse towards transforming ourselves, in the quality of our service, and for the whole BJMP family,” he said.

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