14 JUSTICE ZONES NATIONWIDE BY 2022
DAVAO CITY- Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said they are eyeing to establish 14 Justice Zones nationwide by 2022. He said by increasing the number of Justice Zones in the country, they are taking the needed steps in the pathway towards achieving both efficiency and effectiveness in the justice system nationwide.
Speaking before Supreme Court Chief Lucas Bersamin, European Union officials, guests and lawyers during the recent launching of Davao City Justice Zone, Año said while these Justice Zones cater to more developed and highly populated areas, he believes that it is critical to fast track the justice system at the grassroots level.
“We have witnessed the way the insurgents capitalize on poverty and unsatisfactory government services in the far-flung areas to lure peaceful communities into taking up arms. The harmless have been deceived into hurting and killing fellow Filipinos for the sake of the twisted ideology of the communists,” he said.
He said in cooperation with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SC, they are looking into bringing these Justice Zones to the poverty-stricken areas.
Año encouraged the Sangguniniang Pambayan to create ordinances to further strengthen the Justice Zone program and for the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) to take the lead in increasing public awareness about this program.
Furthermore, he is calling the LGUs with the active support of partner NGAs and CSOs to strive towards becoming Justice Zones.
“Let us strengthen justice sector coordination and policy-making. Let us advocate for reform to decongest and automate the system. Let us work towards efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in our attempts to significantly decrease poverty and make growth inclusive,” he said.
He said the DILG will assist the LGUs in harmonizing the policy formulation, law enforcement and jail bureaus. He also said they will strengthen their efforts in a more focused and organized approach to implement the programs of the DOJ in LGUs across the country.
“This is a national government initiated system in coordination with the LGUs. But the Justice Zones will only become successful if the LGUs through the direction of their local chief executives will be the one to actively support and institutionalize this system down to the barangay level,” he said.
There are already three Justice Zones: Cebu City, Quezon City and in Davao City. Año said In Quezon City, the process aims to reduce from 3-5 years to simply 90 days. Whereas in Cebu City, there have been LGU efforts to decongest jails and court as well as to utilize the e-court system and to combat human trafficking. The Davao City Justice Zone aims to cut the legal proceedings of court cases in the city by 50% through an improved coordination among the justice, law enforcement and detention agencies at the local level.
Next month another Justice Zone will be launched in Angeles City.