PDLs not forgotten population, says Remulla
Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday stressed that persons deprived of liberty or PDLs in the country are not a “forgotten” population, saying that the Philippines is just facing challenges which include budgetary limitations and the need for systematic coordination with various government agencies tasked in the safekeeping and reformation of PDLs.
The DoJ secretary, in his speech during the Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Nelson Mandela Rules: “A forgotten population: The treatment of prisoners in challenging times” in Vienna, Austria, said that just like other developing countries, the criminal justice system of the Philippines is beset by challenges in instituting reforms to conform with relevant international human rights treaties.
“An in-depth and holistic study of our corrections system will better inform us to implement evidence-based and responsive solutions to our problems,” Remulla said.
He added that though the agency remains steadfast in addressing the challenges, the main guiding principle in the country’s prison reform program is to consider PDLs not as numbers but human beings with dignity and rights.
“Making our prison facilities in the Philippines more humane and more dignified is one of our priorities. We are determined to ensure that except for their liberty, our PDLs continue to enjoy all their other fundamental human rights while in detention,” Remulla said.
“The Philippines has recently embarked on a game-changing transformational reform of our criminal justice system. A big part of this reform agenda consists in introducing bold initiatives in our corrections system,” he added.
Remulla also said that they are aware that the reform agenda will only succeed if policy makers have a sincere and objective recognition of its defects as he mentioned the 11-point applicable and relevant UN standards to make the prison facilities in the country consistent with the Nelson Mandela Rules.
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