THE United States government has awarded nearly P15 million ($250,000) worth of assistance project to the Philippines to support its ongoing judicial reform efforts.

“The rule of law is essential in ensuring equal access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable,” said US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson.

“We must preserve democratic institutions and bring together like-minded countries because the rule of law is vital to democracy. The United States values its longstanding partnership with the Philippines and remains committed to supporting the Supreme Court as it pursues judicial reforms,” added Carlson during the formal launching of the grant with Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo at the Supreme Court recently.

Gesmundo expressed his gratitude to the US government and other partner agencies, saying their contributions “have helped the Supreme Court become more efficient and effective in the administration of justice.”

In a statement, the embassy disclosed the US State Department’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) awarded the grant to the US National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to facilitate the implementation of the Manila Justice Sector Reform Program in support of the Supreme Court’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations.

This 18-month-long program aims to set the foundation for future judicial reforms in the country “by evaluating the existing capacity of the judiciary, supporting, planning, and developing key performance baselines and tools for measuring success.”

The NCSC is a US non-profit organization that provides training, technology, and technical assistance to improve justice systems and services across the globe.

The INL also helped partner governments “assess, build, reform, and sustain competent and legitimate criminal justice systems, and develop and implement the architecture necessary for cross-border law enforcement cooperation.”

Also present during the announcement of the US government grant were Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, and Associate Justice Antonio T. Kho Jr. (SunStar Philippines)