Pay hike to keep prison guards honest, says PNP chief
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa had identified what he said was the root of the drug trade inside the country’s prisons—money, or the lack of it in the hands of jail authorities.
Dela Rosa, announced by President Duterte as the next chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), said the solution could be as simple as giving jail guards and personnel more money in the form of a wage hike.
This, he said, would help keep them away from the temptation of conniving with, or simply turning a blind eye on, drug transactions in jails.
Dela Rosa on Friday said that he found out that a jail guard earns only around P12,000 a month, or three times less than a police officer would get monthly starting next year when higher pay for men in uniform takes effect.
“Let’s be frank about it,” said Dela Rosa. “The problem will not persist if there’s no connivance with some people from BuCor,” he told reporters at the sidelines of BuCor’s 112th founding anniversary celebration.
Increasing wages in the BuCor would be a priority when Dela Rosa assumes office as head of the bureau which supervises government prisons. He said he would lobby for bureau wages to increase alongside those for policemen and soldiers.
“In that way, maybe [the drug lords] would have a hard time bribing our personnel,” he said.
He said that while BuCor employees might not be directly involved in the drug trade inside jails “mere negligence in their work is collaboration already.”
“For me that is already contributory [and being an] accessory to the crime,” he said, repeating a promise to cleanse the BuCor once he starts heading it.
Dela Rosa’s visit to the BuCor came three days after Mr. Duterte announced that the country’s top cop would be BuCor’s next chief after he retired from the PNP.
Dela Rosa also warned drug lords operating inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), the country’s main jail facility, that he would make their lives “miserable.”
‘Up to God’
“If you would continue trafficking drugs, you better start praying,” he said.
But he admitted he had no plan yet on how to eliminate the drug trade inside NBP. “I don’t know,” he said. “I will just do it. It’s up to God,” he added.
Dela Rosa was to retire from the Philippine National Police in January, but his term had been extended for three months.
He said he could not reveal the reason his tenure was extended, but it had something to do with drugs, terrorism and the communist rebellion.
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