Controlled facilities or jails nationwide are directed to clear its premises from illegal drug activities and secure their drug-cleared or drug-free status, twelve months from now.

This has been mandated by the Dangerous Drugs Board through a regulation providing for the guidelines in the implementation of drug clearing program in controlled facilities for Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs).

“The proliferation of illegal drugs and drug related incidents in jails pose a serious threat to the health, reformation, and rehabilitation of persons deprived of liberty,” said DDB Chairman Secretary Catalino S. Cuy. This is why under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy or PADS, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have been directed to enhance anti-illegal drug measures in their detention facilities.

Based on the regulation, detention facilities supervised and managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), and even Local Government Units (LGUs) should create a Drug-Free Workplace Program Committee to implement the drug clearing program.

This includes the conduct of drug testing and surprise search and seizure operations. The regulation requires search and seizure operations to be unannounced and implemented on the whole facility with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). All jail personnel and PDL found in possession of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals (CPECs) shall be criminally and administratively charged and prosecuted.

Moreover, personnel of detention facilities shall undergo mandatory drug test at least once a year while PDLs shall undergo drug test based on random sampling. Personnel who will be found positive for drug use will be dealt with in accordance with the provision of DDB Regulation No. 7, Series of 2003, as amended or the general guidelines for the implementation of mandatory drug testing to officers and members of the military, police, and other law enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, PDLs who will be found positive for drug use after a confirmatory test shall undergo intervention either through Therapeutic Community Modality Program or Balay Silangan.

Reinforcing support to BuCor and BJMP

In December last year, the DDB turned over 8.5 million pesos worth of financial assistance to BuCor for the establishment of a drug treatment and rehabilitation facility inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

The BJMP also received an initial amount of 15 million pesos for the construction of a drug rehabilitation facility within the BJMP compound in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. This 4th quarter of 2020, another 15 million pesos will be released to the BJMP for the construction of another facility in Argao District Jail, Cebu for Visayas. As programmed, one (1) more facility shall be constructed for Luzon.

“We encourage all jails to institute treatment and rehabilitation programs in their facilities,” said Secretary Cuy.

Parameters for declaring drug-cleared or drug-free detention facilities

The regulation also provides for the creation of an oversight committee in every region to issue and approve resolutions for the declaration of drug-cleared or drug-free controlled facility. The committee is also tasked to validate and determine if parameters required to declare a facility drug-cleared or drug-free is maintained.

A facility can be declared as drug-cleared if it implements the drug-free workplace program. Drug test conducted on PDL and all jail personnel shall also have negative results and there shall be zero incident of confiscation and seizure of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia or CPECs including unauthorized electronic or digital communication devices that can be used to facilitate illegal drug transaction.

This should be observed in the detention facility for at least three search and seizure operations within six months prior to the filing of the application with the oversight committee. There shall also be continuous implementation of therapeutic modality program or Balay Silangan as interventions for PDL.

Sustained compliance to these parameters of drug-cleared status for more than one year from the date of declaration observed consistently in every quarterly validation will grant the facility the drug-free status.

The status may be revoked by the oversight committee when there are reports of illegal drug activities in the facility or there is a failure to sustain any of the parameters.

Upon the effectivity of the regulation, all controlled facilities or jails nationwide are required to clear its premises from illegal drug activities and secure drug-cleared or drug-free status within a period of twelve months.

The PDEA is tasked to monitor nationwide implementation of drug clearing program in controlled facilities assisted by heads of BJMP, BuCor and administrators of provincial jails of provincial LGUs.