MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the condition of jails being run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) despite widespread congestion due to a surge in the number of detainees facing drug-related cases.
Duterte, during a visit to Camp Bagong Diwa, praised the BJMP on how they run detention facilities under their helm despite budget constraints.
"Okay naman sila and I am happy... Okay ang sitwasyon, clean. They are comfortable. I am satisfied by the way it is being run by the BJMP so I would like to congratulate the BJMP for a job well done so far...maski gaano ka-limitado ang pera," he said in a speech.
Duterte said, although there is a desire to improve jail conditions, budget constraints do not permit so at present. He instead promised inmates during his visit that he would place a television in each cell to better their living conditions.
The BJMP is charge of all city, district and municipal jails. It handles detainees "accused before a court who are temporarily confined in such jails while undergoing investigation, waiting final judgement and those who are serving sentence promulgated by the court 3 years and below."
The President's remarks were made despite reported congestion at jails handled by the BJMP.
Last month, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto called on the government to increase the food budget of inmates in jails handled by the BJMP due to a surge in detainees locked up for drug-related offenses.
The BJMP, according to Recto, is currently reporting a 600-percent average congestion rate.
After praising the BJMP, Duterte also reiterated his promise to double the salaries of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) next year.
"Sabi ko yung salary niyo doblado, so by next year doblado na," he said.
Last month a draft resolution for the pay hike of MUP personnel was prepared by the Department of Budget and Management and concurred in by the Office of the President.
If signed by both houses of Congress, the resolution will double the base pay of a Police Officer I in the Philippine National Police, a Private in the Department of National Defense, and equivalent ranks in the BJMP, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College, Philippine Coast Guard, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story used a file photo of a jail in Quezon City. It has been updated to reflect President Duterte’s visit. We regret the error.