By Leonel Abasola
MANILA – Senator Raffy Tulfo has filed a measure seeking to ensure the safety and security of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) by establishing security monitoring systems inside all jail facilities nationwide.
In filing Senate Bill 2031 or the “Jails and Prisons Monitoring Act of 2023” on March 21, Tulfo said that despite efforts to ensure the safety and security of inmates, incidents of violence and other security breaches continue to occur inside prison cells.
To address the issue, he said, security monitoring systems, composed of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, motion sensors, and other relevant equipment should be established to ensure the safety and security of inmates and prison personnel alike.
“With security monitoring systems in place, we promote the safety and security of inmates and prison personnel by providing an additional layer of security inside prison cells. With their use, incidents of violence and other security breaches can be prevented, and the rights of persons deprived of liberty can be better protected,” Tulfo said.
SB 2031 states “it is the policy of the State to provide a safe and secure environment for arrested individuals, detainees, and convicted inmates inside incarceration facilities.”
“To achieve this, the State shall establish security monitoring systems inside prison cells to monitor the activities of inmates and prevent any untoward incidents that may put the lives and safety of the inmates and prison personnel at risk. This is also necessary to deter criminal activities, prevent escape attempts, and monitor the behavior of Inmates Inside the prison cells,” the measure said.
Under the proposed measure, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall be responsible for the installation, maintenance, and operation of the security monitoring systems in all national, regional, and local incarceration facilities in the country.
The CCTV Systems shall cover all common areas inside the facility and at the entry and exit points, inside the investigation area and the perimeters. The CCTV Systems shall be operated by trained personnel who shall be responsible for monitoring the activities inside the prison cells.
SB 2031 however prohibits the installation or use the CCTVs in any restroom, toilet, bathroom, changing room, strip search area, and other similar areas used for private activities; as well as on the walls of the area covered by the Incarcerated facility without due notice.
Data of recordings shall be kept for only six months and should automatically be overwritten or deleted beyond this period and the data collected through the security monitoring system shall be treated with utmost confidentiality.
The PNP, BJMP, and BuCor shall ensure that the data collected shall be used solely for security and investigative purposes and shall comply with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act (Republic Act 10173).
The penalty of imprisonment of not less than six years but not more than 10 years, or a fine of not less than PHP500,000 but not more than PHP1 million, or both imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court, shall be imposed upon any person found guilty of unauthorized tampering, dismantling, or disassembling of the security monitoring system. (PNA)