BuCor to implement cashless policy in its operating prison, penal farms by September
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) will begin implementing a cashless policy in its operating prison and penal farms (OPPFs) nationwide by next month to combat the increasing number of illegal activities through cash.
According to BuCor Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr., inmates or persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) were initially allowed to acquire and possess money while serving their sentence in recognition of basic human rights. Their money comes from livelihood programs or loved ones to help them sustain their basic needs.
However, Catapang said the bureau received reports that some PDLs used their money for illegal activities and transactions, prompting them to impose a “cashless zone” on its OPPFs.
“By this, we mean PDLs and even Corrections Officers (COs) assigned to man the security compound will not be allowed to carry cash, or else it will be confiscated,” Catapang said in a statement issued on Sunday.
He added that confiscated money would be deposited to the PDLs’ trust funds, while those they got from COs would be deposited to employees’ trust funds.
Catapang explained that PDLs would each receive issued booklets similar to the ones given by commercial banks indicating the amount credited to the holder’s name. The booklet owner would be entitled to purchase goods or items in prison stores and receive a maximum amount of P2,000 per week.
Meanwhile, the BuCor director also warned unauthorized BuCor personnel that they would be dismissed if they were found to possess these booklets.
“With this new policy, we are hitting two birds with one stone, one is eradicating the use of cash in illegal business transactions of PDLs, and two, we will be able to discipline our personnel from meddling with PDL’s money,” Catapang said.
He also said that prison stores should be managed by Corrections cooperatives, where every employee is a member and proceeds for this operation will be deposited directly to their funds as part of their incentives.
The BuCor Business Center, headed by Atty. Melencio Faustino, is already creating this type of policy.