Remulla defends BuCor relocation to Masungi as part of decongestion plan | Inquirer News
‘Do not dictate to us what we want to do’

Remulla defends BuCor relocation to Masungi as part of decongestion plan

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:32 AM February 19, 2023

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla STORY: Remulla defends Bucor relocation to Masungi

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla defended the decision of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to relocate its headquarters to a 270-hectare section of the Masungi Georeserve, a protected forest area in Rizal province, saying the choice of location was within the agency’s mandate to improve the country’s penal management system.

Remulla said the proposed transfer was in line with the plan of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to build regional prison facilities in order to decongest New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, the site of the current BuCor headquarters.


BuCor is an attached agency of the DOJ.


“It’s part of the overall plan of the DOJ. We’re regionalizing our prisons …. we’re also eyeing to transfer even the headquarters. It’s one of the things being considered right now,” Remulla said on his radio program on Saturday.

“We’re looking at the options available to the BuCor for the next 15 to 20 years. There has to be a long-term plan for BuCor,” he added.


In an earlier statement, Remulla said the “regionalization” of BuCor facilities was necessary “to humanize the prison system.” Having these new sites would enable the families of prisoners to visit them more often, he said.

The justice secretary explained that BuCor was looking at the Masungi area, particularly a section within the municipality of Tanay, Rizal, since it was awarded to the bureau through a 2006 proclamation of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“That was the area given ….because you look at strategic parcels of land where BuCor can be relocated since we’re (doing) regionalization. In Region 4 that’s the only parcel of land for BuCor,” he said. “And you cannot limit our options to think of what’s good for the agency …. Do not dictate to us what we want to do because we are the ones thinking of the direction to be taken by the BuCor and the justice system.’’

Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. (MGFI), the government-designated caretaker of the geopark since 2017, earlier appealed to BuCor acting Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. to “reconsider” the relocation plan and give a higher consideration to the environment.


MGFI trustee Ann Dumaliang pointed out that the proposed site was mountainous and not suitable for building offices or housing facilities. She also called on President Marcos and Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to intervene in the brewing dispute.

Dumaliang also said the foundation would be ready to sit down and discuss the matter with Catapang and Remulla.

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In an apparent response to the MGFI official, Remulla said in Filipino: “We’ll talk to you at the proper time. You just relax.”


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