COMMITTED to support reforms in the country’s justice sector, the European Union (EU) and the Philippine Government declared Davao City as the newest Justice Zone in the country.
The Justice Zone program is under the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) where local justice sector agencies such as police, prosecutors, judges, public attorneys, and managers of detention facilities identify common problems and arrive at common solutions to address these.
The JSCC is jointly headed by the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Davao City was formally welcomed as the third city in the country - and the first in Mindanao region - under the Justice Zone, at the Davao City Hall of Justice along Candelaria Street, Barangay 76-A in Matina Thursday, March 14.
Present during the launching were Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, and EU Ambassador Franz Jessen.
Bersamin said that having the city as next justice zone is very ideal, considering Quezon City and Cebu City decreased backlog of cases in courts.
“We hope to eradicate the backlogs on our courts,” Bersamin said.
Regional Trial Court of Davao executive judge Emmanuel Carpio said that during the planning of the Davao Justice Zone, the stakeholders have proposed to strengthen communication, coordination, and cooperation within and among criminal justice sector agencies and their stakeholders.
“We also want to maximize the newly approved guidelines on plea bargaining so that more drug users can go into rehabilitation instead of incarceration,” Carpio said.
Año said that they target 14 Justice Zones in the country in 2022.
“We need to decongestant our penal facilities. So let us take this one step at a time until we reach our target,” he said.