BuCor to turn prisons, penal farms into ‘cashless zones” by September

The Bureau of Corrections will introduce a cashless policy in all its operating prisons and penal farms (OPPFs) in September to eliminate the proliferation of illegal activities that use cash.

BuCor Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. explained in a Sunday statement that person deprived of liberty (PDLs) are allowed to possess money while serving a sentence, either from proceeds of their engagement in work and livelihood programs or from money sent to them by relatives and friends, to supplement the limited resources allocated for their basic needs.

However, because the BuCor received reports that some PDLs used their money in illegal business transactions, Catapang said all OPPFs would become “cashless zones.”

“By this we mean, PDLs and even corrections officers assigned to man the security compound will not be allowed to carry cash money or else it will be confiscated,” Catapang added.

Confiscated money from PDLs will be deposited to the PDL’s trust fund, while confiscated money from corrections officers or COs would be deposited to the employees trust fund.

Instead of cash, the BuCor would issue PDLs booklets, similar to what banks issue, reflecting the amount credited to the booklet holder’s name and entitling the PDL to purchase goods or items from the IPX, a store inside prisons.

They are allowed to receive a maximum of P2,000 per week.

Catapang warned that any unauthorized BuCor personnel found to be in possession of a PDL’s booklet would “be meted outright dismissal.”

“With the new policy, we are hitting two birds with one stone. One is eradicating the use of cash money in illegal business transactions of PDLs, and two, we will be able to discipline our own personnel from meddling with PDL’s money,” said the BuCor chief.

Meanwhile, Catapang wanted the supply and operation of IPXs inside OPPFs managed by BuCor cooperatives, of which every employee is a member.

Proceeds from this operation will be deposited directly to an employee’s funds as part of their incentives.

The mechanics for these are now being crafted by the BuCor Business Center, headed by Atty. Melencio Faustino. — DVM, GMA Integrated News

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