Court suspends transfer of inmates to BuCor facilities
THE OFFICE of the Court Administrator has directed courts to suspend the transfer of convicted inmates to facilities managed by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). The order was issued following a request from BuCor Director General Gerald Q. Bantag to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. “(T)he issuance by the courts of commitment orders from BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) jail units to the BuCor is hereby suspended, effective today until 31 August 2020,” the circular signed by Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez read. The Department of Justice said more than 300 prisoners and employees have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019, with 21 deaths among prisoners, including nine high-profile inmates. The court administrator had also previously issued an order temporarily stopping the transfer of newly arrested individuals from local police units to jail units under BJMP, following the request of Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año. BuCor handles the New Bilibid Prison, Correctional Institution for Women, the Leyte Regional Prison, and the penal farms in Davao, Iwahig, San Ramon and Sablayan. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas
Labor dep’t anticipates funding for informal sector, barangay employment programs
THE LABOR department is expecting more funding for its assistance programs with the Senate’s approval of the second law covering the government’s response measures for the coronavirus crisis. In a briefing on Wednesday, Labor Undersecretary Joji V. Aragon said the overall P140-billion fund under the second Bayanihan to Heal As One Act will allow the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to extend more help to workers who lost their jobs or livelihood due to the ongoing crisis. “Under Bayanihan 2, nakikita namin na baka at malaki ang posibilidad na maaprubahan po ang aming mga programa (we see that it could and there is a big possibility that our programs will be approved),” she said. She said this includes funding for workers in the informal sector and the barangay-based emergency employment program. The Senate on Tuesday approved the proposed law, which includes a P17 billion fund for DoLE.
Meanwhile, another 354 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Saudi Arabia arrived in Manila on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, some of our OFWs have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and we hope that our repatriation efforts would bring them comfort as they will soon join their families and loved ones,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said. DoLE has so far repatriated over 104,000 OFWs displaced by the global pandemic. — Gillian M. Cortez