The Jail Drug Clearing Operation aims to eradicate the existence of illegal drugs and drug-related activities in jails. It shall conduct of the following activities:
- Drug testing of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) and personnel;
- Search and seizure operation in jails;
- Advocacy campaign; and
- Subjecting PDL and personnel involved in illegal drug activity and/or tested positive in using dangerous drugs to appropriate disciplinary and administrative proceedings to include the filing of a criminal case when necessary
The program was initiated by the then chief, BJMP Jail Director Deogracias C. Tapayan. It was patterned after the Barangay Drug Clearing Operation of the Dangerous Drugs Board. The best practice was initiated through a Memorandum of Agreement between the BJMP and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) wherein both agencies agreed to conduct jail drug-clearing operations in accordance with the agreed operational strategy. Unlike in the Barangay Drug Clearing Operation where people involved in illegal drugs are either arrested or allowed to undergo rehabilitation, the Jail Drug Clearing Operation focuses on the search and seizure operations of illegal drugs in jails as well as drug tests of personnel and PDLs and the conduct of anti-illegal drug advocacy campaign. The Jail Drug Clearing Operation was started on 29 May 2018.
Background and Problem
The objectives of the program are the following:
- To make BJMP jails drug-free or drug-clear facilities;
- To ensure safety of PDL, personnel and visitors from the ill effects of illegal drugs; and
- To support the president’s Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign
Contraband proliferation has been a perennial problem of the Jail Bureau. Illegal drugs are one of the most common contraband. Illegal drug use and related activities bring about a host of security issues that hamper development of PDL, security maintenance and personnel performance. In consonance with the anti-illegal drug campaign of the government and in order to address above-mentioned problems, the Jail Bureau initiated the Jail Drug Clearing Operation.
Solution and Impact
Jails are vulnerable to proliferation of contraband such as illegal drugs. PDL, visitors and personnel may be involved in illegal drug activities. Intercepting illegal drug couriers in jails, or apprehending possessors, devising appropriate intervention measures for PDL or personnel, filing of criminal and administrative cases, if circumstances warrant, are the vital activities of the Jail Drug Clearing Operation. An Oversight Committee, chaired by the Regional Director of the PDEA, one Vice-Chairperson and three members namely, the Regional Director of Department of the Interior and Local Government, Regional Director of BJMP, Regional Director of Department of Health and a local government unit Chief Executive, shall decide if a jail facility has become drug-free or drug-cleared after complying with certain parameters. Through the aid of the BJMP Drug-Free Workplace Committee, the Oversight Committee shall also identify and classify the drug-affected and drug-unaffected jails through the conduct of a drug testing campaign among personnel and to at least 20% of the total PDL population, coupled with a search and seizure operation. If a PDL or personnel tests positive for drug use, or if dangerous drugs get recovered during a search operation, such jail shall be classified as drug-affected and shall be subjected to a jail drug clearing operation, which conducts the same process for three consecutive months. The jail will only be reclassified as drug-unaffected if succeeding drug tests for PDL and personnel turns out negative as well as a zero confiscation of dangerous drugs. Further parameters should be adhered to before being qualified as a drug-free facility. Since the implementation of the program, jails have been under regular surveillance to ensure the attainment of the drug-cleared/drug-free facilities.
As of July 2019, there have been 179 jails certified as drug-free and 3 have been declared as drug-cleared out of the 416 BJMP jails nationwide. The operation ensures a safer and more secured environment for PDL, visitors and personnel from the effects of dangerous drugs. The next steps include the continuous monitoring of drug-free jails and the conduct of drug clearing operations in drug-affected jails.