STA.MARIA, BULACAN- The Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. (HLAF) celebrated its 15 years of promoting dignity through freedom. In line with this, HLAF recognize individuals, organizations and stakeholders who are active in the front lines of promoting the welfare of persons behind bars, especially the children, the elderly, the sick, and those who need special care through the “Gawad Kalayaan Para sa mga Mapagpalaya”.
The “Gawad Kalayaan Para sa mga Mapagpalaya was held last Dec. 6, 7:00 p.m., at Sitio Lucia Resort Hotel and Training Center.
The Gawad Kalayaan was attended by juvenile justice implementers at the community level from HLAF partner barangays on Quezon City, Malabon City, Navotas City and Caloocan City, advocates of promoting the welfare of persons deprived of liberty and reintegration of ex-detainees.
“Dignity through freedom- that’s the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation’s motto. For the past 15 years, that’s what we’re trying to attain and achieve. And in the celebration of its 15th anniversary, we’re thankful for the past 15 years that you’ve joined us in our goal to give freedom… And we will continue to do our advocacy, we will continue to attain our advocacy (with you) through your help. (Dignity through freedom, yan po yung motto ng Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation. Sa loob ng labing-limang taon, yan ang sinusubukan naming abutin, sinusubukan tuparin. At ngayong 15th anniversary ng HLAF, kami po ay nagpapasalamat dahil sa loob ng labing-limang taon na ‘yan kayo po ay kasama namin upang makapagbigay ng kalayaan… At patuloy pa rin naming gagawin ang aming adhikain, patuloy pa rin naming susubukin abutin ang mga adhikain kasama at katulong po ninyo.)” said Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, the Executive Director of the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc., during his opening remarks at the Gawad Kalayaan.
Chief of the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology (BJMP), J/DIR. Serafin Petronio Barretto Jr., CESO IV, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region III Director, Hon. Gemma Gabuya, as the representative of DSWD Secretary, Hon. Judy Taguiwalo, OIC-Director of the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), Hon. Leocadio T. Trovela, CESO IV, DSWD-National Capital Region Assistant Regional Director, Hon. Manuela Loza and University of the Philippines-Diliman Psychology Professor, Mr. Bryan Egay, graced the BCPC Congress.
The guests of the awarding event each gave their inspirational messages directed to individuals, organizations and stakeholders present at the Gawad Kalayaan.
“In the past years, we are gradually building comprehensive network of integrated support from other agencies, local and international organization including the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. … juvenile justice or making a difference in the lives of so many youth through multi-sectoral collaboration. We are here because all of us heeded that call and have been actively engaged to produce real results.” said J/DIR. Serafin Petronio Barretto Jr., CESO IV in his message at the event.
As the representative of DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Regional Director Gemma Gabuya delivered her message in the Gawad Kalayaan. Dir. Gabuya quoted in her message “Thank you and I hope that our (DSWD) partnership will continue, with BCPCs, with HLAF and with other government organization. We need to help one another (with DSWD) because we are the baseline of our community. (So maraming salamat at sana tuloy tuloy ang ating partnership, yung ating BCPC’s, yung ating HLAF, yung ating other government organization with the DSWD. Magtulungan din po tayo di lang po yung DSWD dahil kami po ang kasama ninyo sa komyunidad.)
OIC-Director of the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), Hon. Leocadio T. Trovela, CESO IV, extended his congratulatory message for HLAF during his inspirational message and he hoped that NBOO’s engagement with HLAF will continue. He also added that HLAF serves as an inspiration to them (NBOO). (Congratulations po sa HLAF. Sana hindi po matapos yung engagement namin sainyo, Atty. Abitria, Mavic, marami pa po. Kayo po ay nagbibigay samin ng inspiration.)
University of the Philippines-Diliman Psychology Professor, Mr. Bryan Egay, emphasized in his message that freedom is not just a personal responsibility and personal right but freedom is also a responsibility to our community. He believes that it (freedom) is what strives HLAF as an organization that advocates freedom in the community, not just the freedom and rights, but also the honor of every individual. (Hindi lang siya isang personal na responsibilidad at hindi lang rin siya personal na karapatan pero isa din siyang responsibilidad sa ating lipunan at yon ang nagtutulak sa HLAF bilang isang organisasyon na nagpapahayag ng kalayaan ng pagkilos ng isang komunidad ng lipunan na pinapahalagaan di lang ang kalayaan ang katarungan pero kasama narin yung karangalan ng bawat tao.)
Among the awards given was the Most Outstanding Barangay Council for the Protection of Children and the Outstanding Jail Paralegal Officer. Also, there were different awards under the three programs of HLAF namely the Jail Decongestion Program, the Center for Restorative Action (CRA) Program and the Focused Reintegration for Ex-Detainees (FRED) Program.
The awards were given to individuals, organizations and stakeholders who continuously support HLAF, thus enabling the implementation of HLAF’s advocacy to forward the rights, welfare, and well-being of persons behind bars, especially the children and those who need special care.