MORE THAN 500 newly-hired officers of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) were sworn into office at the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City on Thursday.
“While guarding our persons deprived of liberty, you should not be corrupt because you will lose your way if you lose your values,” BuCor Officer-in-Charge Gregorio T. Catapang said during the oath-taking ceremony streamed live on Facebook.
Of the 533 new correction officers, 313 are criminologists, 131 are licensed teachers, several nurses, social workers and psychometricians, among others, according to BuCor data.
Last week, the prison bureau freed more than 300 inmates who served their sentences as part of the government’s efforts to decongest jails.
The state has released a total of 5,917 prisoners this year.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla earlier told the United Nations Human Rights Council that he seeks to release 5,000 inmates by June of next year.
Many of the country’s jails fail to meet the UN’s minimum standards given inadequate food, poor nutrition and unsanitary conditions, according to Human Rights Watch.
“The marching orders given to me are to keep reforming BuCor and to decongest our jails,” Mr. Catapang said in November. — John Victor D. Ordoñez