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Bill proposes separate facility for high-level offenders 

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a measure establishing a separate jail facility for high-level offenders,  according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

A total of 222 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 10355, or the proposed "Separate Facility for High-Level Offenders Act".

The bill provides that there shall be established and maintained a separate, secure, and sanitary penitentiary for the custody and safekeeping of high-level offenders serving sentence in the prison facilities of the BuCor.

High-level offenders, as defined in the bill, are persons convicted of heinous crimes and identified by the Director General of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) as high-risk or high-profile, taking into consideration the offense for which the inmate is convicted, criminal record or history of the inmate, and affiliations.

The separate facility for high-level offenders shall be built in a suitable location to be determined by the Secretary of Justice, away from the general population and other inmates, and preferable within a military establishment or an island separate from the mainland.

The facility shall be located in a secured and isolated place to ensure that there is no unwarranted contact or communication from outside of the penal institution.

There shall be at least three separate facilities for high-level offenders, with one facility each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The transfer of high-level offenders currently serving their sentences shall be made within a period of 30 days from the completion of the construction of such facilities.

The separate facility for high-level offenders shall be a state-of-the-art facility with surveillance cameras and the latest information technology and security systems capable of monitoring its inmates 24 hours a day, and with enhanced and extensive security features on locks, doors, and its perimeters.

The facility shall be maintained clean and habitable at all times. Sanitary and hygienic toilets and shower areas shall be provided and maintained.

High-level offenders are allowed to communicate with their relatives or with their legal counsels only, under such conditions and circumstances as may be recommended by the Director General of the BuCor and approved by the Secretary of Justice.

An internal inspection, which is conducted by the prison administration, and an external inspection, which is carried on by the Department of Justice, shall be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that the institution is administered in accordance with the Constitution and other existing laws and regulations, and to attain the objectives of the penal system. 

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