For more than 200 days, the Palawan Cradle of Rights (PCR) continues to thrive from its inception up to this moment of preparation for the upcoming Summer Immersion Program, expected to be joined by Access to Justice Advocates Philippines’ members. From struggles to keep the memberships and obstacles to fit with the limited time that can be afforded by everyone, still we managed to survive. But the survival is not yet a reason for any celebration for we have not reached the start of a long era of defense from any threat to usurp our rights.
As long as our high spirits remain, and the drive to advance our desires persists, we can contribute in the protection of a range of interests vested with rights and in the future we can realize what we envision. But a multitude of concern if all taken to this journey, may only cause lag in every step we take. The idea is this; we need to reconcile our capacity with what sector receives fewer attention. We are aspiring to become future lawyers and not one yet. That makes us limited. A reality that we should take into account but not to discourage us. An acceptance of weakness creates an environment where one can grow. We should grow from our limitation, but before that, we need to realize it.
There are lots of Non-governmental organizations working for the environment at the City of Puerto Princesa right now. Even in the whole province of Palawan environmental advocacy is overwhelming. From organizations across Palawan, all share the same advocacy- Environmental Protection. How about other sectors? This is not a call to go against the environment, nor prevents one from expressing his/her deep love to our mother nature, but an attempt to bring a difference to sectors whose outcries remains echoing within their justice-distant niches.
Article XIII Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution states that, “The right of the people and their organization to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political and economic decision making shall not be abridged. The State shall by law facilitate establishment of adequate consultation mechanism.” This Constitutional provision is further strengthened by the passage of R.A. 8435 or the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act, specifically on its Section 3 which states that “The state shall promote people empowerment by enabling all citizens through direct participation or through their elected, chosen or designated representatives the opportunity to participate in policy formulation and decision making by establishing the appropriate mechanisms in giving them access to information.” Even our Local Government Code emphasizes in general the role of people’s organization and mandates Local Government Units to promote their establishment and operation to become partners in pursuit of local autonomy.
Even before the passage of the Local government Code or R.A. 7160 in 1991 and R.A. 8435 in 1997, on January 30, 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino had issued executive order No.116. In that order, the Department of Agriculture is mandated as it states on second sentence of paragraph 2 under section 4 that, It shall encourage peoples participation in agricultural development through sectoral representation in agricultural policy-making bodies so that plans and programs are formulated and executed to satisfy their needs.
Our farmers and fisher folks are rich with protection of their interests when it comes to laws and regulations. A constitutional promise that they ought to enjoy in return of their continuous allegiance to our government, as an implied social contract.
However, despite all these guarantees, I submit that our dear brothers in the farms and those working for the big fish landing that contribute to our gross domestic products, remain minority. The constitutional guarantees and what the law provides for them to exercise must be vigilantly addressed. Together we can be sentinels of agricultural rights afforded to every farmer and fisher folk in the province.
Again let me say that, the initiative of the U.S. Embassy “to stir the color of public service that for long has lied dormant at the bottom of a glass called Law School has awakened the Modern-day-Leviathan-of-Social-Justice-Advocacy”. The agricultural sector calls for you, for us, to lead this advocacy. This is not a call to criticize the government in implementing its programs for the agricultural sector, but I implore for our collective effort in bridging the gap between our Government and the members of the Agricultural sector through our active support in the implementation of the constitutional guarantees for their enjoyment.
We may be renowned worldwide for our tourist spots and preserved environmental riches. We may have already developed into a Highly Urbanize City and soon an investment destination province. But the true measure of progress is the absence of outcries behind our protected mountains. We can pursue other advocacies, but it would only take a minute to consider them, just a little more step to look into their plight, and just a moment of silence to hear their call.
Copyright (c) 2013 ACCESS TO JUSTICE ADVOCATES (AJA). All rights reserved.
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Liceo Legal Aid Center (LiLAC) doing business under the name and style of Center for Alternative Lawyering of Liceo is the legal aid center of Liceo de Cagayan University, a privately owned university based in Cagayan de oro City. The group is composed of law students, alumni of the College of Law of the University, and lawyers who are passionate in the practice of alternative lawyering. LiLAC is guided by its vision of a holistic formation of law students committed to the transformation of society by promoting justice, empowerment, unity and peace, through helping the marginalized sector of the depressed areas here in Mindanao, in the Philippines and in the world. While the group was registered only this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it has been providing services to marginalized communities in partnership with NGOs for more than 8 years now. LiLAC has more than 50 members, 15 of whom are taking the active role of running the group’s activities.
The Mindanao State University Legal Aid Clinic or Mindanao SULAC for brevity, is the Legal Aid Clinic of Mindanao State University College of law. It is the first and currently the only one of its kind to be established in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It strives to cater the legal needs of the underprivileged and/or indigent clients of the Region and to help promote the proper administration of justice as a key to lasting peace in the region and in the country as a whole.
Office Address: 1F MSU College of Law Bldg.,
MSU Main Campus, Marawi City 9700 Philippines
Mobile No.: (+63) 907 336 7762
The Notre Dame university is a Catholic Institution in Cotabato City run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and member of the Notre Dame Educational Association Philippines.The Notre Dame University Legal Aid Center started sometime in 2009. Its members are the officially enrolled students of NDU-College of Law.
The following are the official pages and e-mail address of the group:
The Palawan Cradle of Rights is a unified composition of law students from Palawan State university school of Law, established last August 26, 2013 after the culminating activity of the Basic Orientation Seminar by the US Embassy in partnership with the MYVC.
Through our linkages and with the help of the different Government and Non-government organizations we aim to provide free access to people who need legal assistance.
The University of Mindanao Legal Aid Network (ULAN) is a non-stock, non-profit, and service institution of the University of Mindanao. As a service institution, it provides legal assistance, advocates human rights and social justice, and facilitates the formation of law students for alternative lawyering. It consists of law students and alumni of the College of Legal Education of the University of Mindanao committed to provide an adequate and greater access to justice of the community through its programs.
The CENTRO ADVOCACIA LEGAL is organized exclusively for charitable, socio-cultural and educational purposes, more specifically to serve the needs of the marginalized communities specifically children and youth and the minorities in Zamboanga City through Legal Aid Assistance and Human Rights Based Advocacies.