The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) looks forward to working with Senator Raffy Tulfo to push the passage of Senate Bill No. 2031 or the Jails and Prisons Monitoring Act of 2023.
If the proposed measure is passed, the CHR will continue to pursue areas of collaboration with pertinent government agencies, such as the Bureau of Corrections, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Philippine National Police, “as complement to our own Constitutional mandate on jail visitation and services relating to the prevention of human rights violations in places of detention.”
The CHR backs Tulfo’s bill that seeks to ensure the safety and security of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) while serving their sentence.
SB 2031 “seeks to promote the safety and security of inmates and prison personnel by providing an additional layer of security inside prison cells” through security monitoring systems, composed of closed-circuit television cameras, motion sensors, and other relevant equipment to ensure the safety and security of inmates and prison personnel alike.
“CHR stresses that preserving the human rights and dignity of all persons, including PDLs, is a fundamental human rights guarantee,” it cited.
The Philippines has obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel (OPCAT), Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and has since enacted Republic Act No. 9745 or An Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment” in 2009 to clearly articulate the State’s policy of respecting the dignity and guaranteeing the rights of PDLs, it stressed.
It invoked The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, better known as the Nelson Mandela Rules.
Tulfo’s bill must be viewed as an added protection for the welfare of prison personnel and as guide for the prison administration to make sound and better human rights-based policies, in line with a previous CHR advisory on uplifting the welfare and dignity of security personnel, the CHR asserted.
“In the larger view, CHR, in fulfillment of our advisory mandate under the Constitution, also continues to urge the government to pass into law the creation of the country’s National Preventive Mechanism, another obligation of the Philippines under OPCAT,” it said.