MANILA, Philippines – The government has received much-needed help in its fight against human rights violations.
On Thursday, July 11, the European Union and the Philippines will launch a joint program worth P540 million to help the government address violations, such as extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Called the European Union-Philippine Justice Support Program II (EPJUST-II), the comprehensive program is funded completely by the EU. Its goal is to help improve the poor’s access to an efficient justice system.
EPJUST-II aims to fulfill its goals over 4 years in partnership with the following agencies:
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which will serve as the lead agency
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- Supreme Court (SC)
- Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
- Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)
- National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
- National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF)
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
- Civil society organizations.
It is a followup to two EU-funded programs. EPJUST helped strengthen the capacities of the criminal justice system stakeholders, while the EPJUST-I focused on improving the barangay justice system and training judiciary and community members on human rights as well as women and gender issues.
Provinces to benefit
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas said EPJUST-II will help the government’s efforts to strengthen the capabilities of law enforcement, the judiciary, and prosecution to quickly resolve cases.
The program will roll out in 13 provinces across the country including Abra, Camarines Sur, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Capiz, Leyte, Oriental Mindoro, Western Samar, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, and the National Capital Region. It will cover 100 municipalities and 1,000 barangays.
Roxas said these areas were hand-picked based on their poverty ranking, presence of minorities and indigenous peoples, level of incidence of major human rights violations, and being identified as conflict-affected area.
The program has 3 major components: making legal information more readily available; fighting impunity by making the criminal justice system more efficient by improving investigation and prosecution; and enhancing transparency and accountability, which aims to strengthen the measurement of the justice system’s performance. – Rappler.com