On August 11, 2016, the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF) held a meeting with Cebu City Governor Hilario Davide III to discuss key details for the furtherance and improvement of the Jail Decongestion Program.
One of the few important projects mentioned is the Criminal Justice Summit to be participated by the executive judges, judges of drug courts, Public Attorney’s Office, Philippine National Police, and the Local Government Units. This aims to be a medium to initiate dialogues between the different government sectors and tackle prevalent issues such as drugs, jail decongestion, and Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL), among others.
Furthermore, the meeting focused on the replication of the Jail Decongestion Program introduced by HLAF in the detention centers of Mandaue and now, Lapu-lapu City. Governor Davide moved to strengthen the program and apply it to bigger detention facilities such as the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilition Center housing over 3,000 detainees.
Also, while jail decongestion is the focus of the meeting, HLAF also proposed the institution of reintegration programs for former detainees through local legislations. The foundation emphasizes that there is also a growing concern of rebuilding their lives and with a heavier responsibility of preventing them to once again go astray.
The meeting also tackled issues involving the government’s infamous fight against drugs. Both the Cebu Governor and HLAF agreed to further the plan to establish a Cebu Anti-Drug Office to coordinate Drug Abuse Councils to be activated in municipalities and barangays. The prime objective of which is to mitigate drug-related activities in the province.
Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation also had a meeting with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office of Cebu for matters involving the creation of a Center for Restorative Justice for CICLs. A discussion was also made regarding municipal and barangay social workers’ training in preparation for the establishment of a Women and Children Crisis Center and Bahay Pag-asa. They also agreed on the paramount importance of family involvement on the reintegration of CICLs.