The government spends more in maintaining prisons in the country compared to the assistance it provides to a poor family, according to a report from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
Authored by NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert, the report said that based on the 2012 General Appropriations Act, the cost of maintaining each prisoner in the country last year reached P19,345.
The report also said that the cost per inmate, which includes food and medicine allowance is much higher than the maximum assistance provided to a poor family at P15,000 a year under the conditional cash transfer program of the government.
“The cost in one semester [P9,672.50] slightly exceeds the 2012 first semester per capita poverty threshold pegged at P9,3854 thus making prisoners even non-poor by definition,” it stated.
On the other hand, the NSCB report also showed that the judiciary faces serious difficulties in addressing case backlogs.
It said that additional investments would be required to improve adjudication process.
“While appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year, this restriction does not apply as regards the percentage of the judiciary’s allotment vis-à-vis the national budget,” the NSCB chief stated.
The report said that the budget for the judiciary in 2012 was lower compared to the budget allotted in 2009.
Based on the Department of Budget and Management data, the report said that out of the P1.8-trillion national budget in 2012, only 0.7 percent was allotted to the judiciary from 0.8 percent in 2009.
Meanwhile, the share of the judiciary’s budget is 11.9 percent of the total budget for the criminal justice system in 2012 from 14.0 percent in 2009.
In addition, the share of the entire criminal system’s budget to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012 is 1.8 percent while that of the adjudication/courts is less than one percent. The GDP level last year was at P6.3 trillion.
“Part of the inefficiencies suggested by trends in the statistics may be issues of budget, but of course, it is also important that budgets are properly used,” Albert said.