Key officials and representatives of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) and NEDA Bicol gathered on June 27 at NEDA Region 5, Legazpi City for an exploratory meeting to discuss the proposed creation of the Regional Justice Committee (RJC) and Justice Zone in Bicol.
The creation of the RJC is one of the strategies under Chapter 6 on Pursuing Swift and Fair Administration of Justice of the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 that aims to address the issues and concerns of the judicial sector through the convergent efforts of the different agencies involved in the five pillars of the justice system.
Delegation from the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) headed by Associate Justice Rafael Antonio M. Santos and NEDA Bicol headed by RD Agnes E. Tolentino
Hon. Rafael Antonio M. Santos, Court of Appeals Associate Justice and Co-Chairperson of the JSCC Technical Working Group on Process and Capacity Building, expressed his enthusiasm on the creation of the RJC towards a more coordinated and harmonized justice sector initiatives.
The proposed RJC will be a sub-committee under the Development Administration Committee of the Regional Development Council which handles matters on governance, law enforcement and administration of justice, among others. It will be composed of representatives from the Judiciary, who will serve as the chairperson of the committee, and from the regional offices of NEDA, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Parole and Probation Administration, Philippine National Police, Public Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Commission on Human Rights; and two (2) civil society organizations, as members.
The commitment of the Supreme Court will be secured to ensure the operability and sustainability of the RJC, and to designate a permanent representative to sit as the chairperson of the committee.
Prior to the exploratory meeting, series of consultations with the concerned agencies, both from the executive and judiciary branches of the government, were also conducted.
The delegation from the JSCC also explored the possibility of creating a Justice Zone in either Legazpi City or Naga City and will consult the Executive Judges in the region. The Justice Zone is a key program of JSCC that aims to speed up the resolution of cases filed in court and decongest jails in certain localities.