BUREAU of Corrections (Bucor) Director General Ronald dela Rosa led on Friday, June 8, the donning and pinning of ranks of 131 corrections, corrections technical, and non-uniformed officers during their promotional ceremony at Leyte Regional Prison (LRP) in Abuyog, Leyte.

“This is now the time that we’ll deliver what is expected of us. This is the right time that we’ll show that the Bureau of Corrections is not an ordinary agency,” Dela Rosa told the newly promoted and reappointed jail officers.

In his speech, the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, who is known for his tough stance against illegal drugs, acknowledged the enactment of the Republic Act (RA) 10575, otherwise known as the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013.

Passed and approved during the then administration of President Benigno Aquino III, the RA 10575 calls for the state to “provide for the modernization, professionalization and restructuring of the Bureau of Corrections by upgrading its facilities, increasing the number of its personnel, upgrading the level of qualifications of their personnel and standardizing their base pay, retirement and other benefits, making it at par with that of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).”

“What do this wearing of new ranks and the new set of uniforms signify? It means the significance of RA 10575, that we’ll be professionals,” Dela Rosa said.

He warned the jail officers, though, that along with the rising of the agency’s level of professionalism is the increase of expectations from the public to them.

“We want to correct the impression that Bucor is not good,” added Dela Rosa, while urging all of the corrections officers to be with him in cleaning the agency from its bad reputation.

“Everybody should be with me. And nobody should not be with me otherwise we’re going to have a problem,” he said.

Dela Rosa reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him into office “to stop the proliferation of all drug activities inside the facilities of Bucor and to uplift the dignity of the agency.”

According to the Bucor director, the agency is mired down because of the misdeeds of others.

“But now, we’ll be leveling up our status to that of PNP and BJMP because of the modernization. Let’s work together and move forward,” he said.

Dela Rosa also warned that any jail officer who will be tested positive for illegal drugs under his administration will be removed from service instead of being rehabilitated.

During the ceremony, LRP jail superintendent Geraldo Aro also called on the newly promoted officers to do their best in the service.

“May this be a constant reminder to us that the promotion we deserve entails sacrifices and competence in the service,” he said.

Corrections Senior Inspector Virgilio Rosauro, the most senior corrections officer at LRP, also thanked Dela Rosa for his long-awaited promotion and increase in his salary.

According to Rosauro, he has been working at LRP since 1978 as prison guard I with a starting salary of P370 before he rose from the ranks.

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa thanked the different government agencies that supported their rehabilitation program for LRP prisoners, specifically the Department of Education in Leyte Division for opening its first senior high school program to at least 63 inmates on June 4, as he admitted that their agency badly needs such kind of help.

Also joining in the ceremony were Abuyog mayor Lemuel Gin Traya, Leyte Schools Division Superintendent Ronelo Al Firmo, Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Edgar Tenasas, Army Captain Bard Caesar Mazo, and Leyte PNP provincial director Norberto Tuazon, among other government officials. (SunStar Philippines)