How HLAF guided the Paralegal Officers and Paralegal Aides to be effective in their “Special Duty”

Written by Melvin Nuñez
Category:

An accord Special Duty

 

 

 

Paralegals aren't lawyers but they do a lot of legal tasks, such as drafting motions, researching the law and collecting evidence. Prison advocate paralegals use their skills on behalf of prisoners, fighting to protect their legal rights and determining if they are being treated humanely. Paralegals who take up this line of work usually find the motivation in their personal ideals, like HLAF.

 

HLAF has trained Paralegal Aides since then. The organization, through its founder Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui, believes that the right to liberty should be respected not only because it is guaranteed by the highest law of the land but because it emanates from the very dignity of every human being.

 

But, wait. What’s a Paralegal Aide again?

 

A Paralegal Aide, an individual with strong commitment to help his internees understand in the knowledge of law, has a strong will to learn about our Constitution, and creates compassion to everyone, inside his surroundings, a PDL.

 

Thus, HLAF is committed to work for the freedom of every person who is arbitrarily and unjustly deprived of liberty.

 

            What can a Paralegal Aide in Jail even do?

 

            HLAF has given us a deeper human understanding that even PDLs (Persons deprived of Liberty) can still help their internee”, according to SJO3 Ellen L. Balan, Quezon City Jail – Male dorm.

 

The Paralegal office is as well training PDLs and qualified Paralegal aides on the Basic Rights of PDLs, the Miranda Rights, Modes of Release, and other subjects, like what HLAF do. “We equip them with guides, kalimitan walang grado ang PDLs. Kaya’t laking pasasalamat namin na tinutulungan kami ng HLAF dahil sa mga programa nila na ganito”, the grateful SJO3 Balan said.

 

            Moreover, she hopes that HLAF still continue their Paralegal Trainings for PDLs. It has been seen that there are already freed PDLs. “We want to continue this journey with you”.

 

 

End.

 

 

“BCPC develops life”

Written by Melvin
Category:

“BCPC develops life”

An interview with Senior Pastor Domingo Plomantes Sr. on how HLAF guided them in a functioning BCPC.

 

Nagkaroon ako ng tyansa na makausap si Senior Pastor Domingo Plomantes Sr., ang secretary ng Barangay Talon Uno upang kamustahin ang kanilang BCPC (Barangay Council for the Protection of Children).

 

Tinanong ko sya kung paano nakatulong ang HLAF sa kanilang BCPC at ano ang naging kahalagahan nito sa kanilang barangay. Sinabi nya na noong wala pang BCPC, hindi nila alam ang gagawin nila sa mga batang CAR (Child at Risk) at CICL (Children in Conflict with the Law) dahil walang proseso ang kanilang barangay para dito. Nakita n’ya ang mga problema ng mga bata sa kanilang barangay noong hindi maayos ang konseho nila dito. “Palibhasa, wala pa ngang batas noon, hindi konkreto ang management sa mga bata, walang BCPC, walang tumutulong”.

 

“Malaking tulong ang HLAF sa paggabay sa aming mga nanunungkulan sa barangay upang ma-fully implement namin ang JJWA (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act)”.

 

Sinabi rin nya na napababa na ng kanilang barangay ang level of criminal acts ng mga bata. “Simula noong magkaroon kami ng BCPC sa barangay, at maayos na ipinapatupad ito, kasama ng mga organisasyon at local na pamahalaan na ang layunin ay tulungan ang mga bata; ay nabibigyan na namin ng intervention programs ang mga CAR, habang diversion programs naman para sa mga CICL”.

 

“Natuto kami ng tamang kalakaran sa HLAF BCPC Congress kasama ng ibang barangay.”

 

Nagkakaroon rin sila ng monthly meetings with children and parents, “nagkakaroon lamang ng challenges sa coordination with the parents, kasama ng homeowner’s association, kasi alam naman natin na mayroon din silang ibang schedules”.

 

We also monitor schools. “Hindi biro ang manungkulan sa BCPC, you develop life”.

Sana maunawaan ng mga kapitan at ng mga sangguniang council natin na we are developing, building, a certain life”.

 

Nagkaroon na rin ang kanilang mga eskwelahan ng SBCPC (School-Based Committee for the Protection of Children) na nagsasagawa ng guidance counselling, monitoring of grades, at ibang programa para sa mga estudyanteng daycare, grade school, at high school. Pinapanatili naming maayos ang monitoring system sa mga eskwelahan at isinasaayos ang coordination ng mga magulang.

 

“Para sa akin, napakagandang programa ng BCPC Talon Uno ang Sunday formation with the Church kasama ng mga magulang dahil nagbi-build ng effective communication ang magandang pagsasama ng pamilya”.  Nagkakaroon rin sila ng Home Visitations sa kanilang barangay upang kamustahin ang lagay ng mga bata sa kanilang barangay, una nilang tinitingnan ang kalusugan at kung pumapasok ang mga bata.

 

Failure of Parenting is seen to be the most dominant problem why children commit wrongdoings. “Bini-build up namin sila (pamilya), we destroy barricades that hinder them from communication and openness to create family development”.

 

Noong tinanong ko s’ya kung sino ang dapat na mga katulong sa BCPC, sinabi nya na “Kailangan maging very cooperative and understanding ang mga kapitan with the chairman of the BCPC. Kailangan ng great teamwork ng lahat ng kasapi upang mapaganda ang buhay ng mga bata.”

 

Isa pa, Kailangan concrete ang BCPC sa buong Pilipinas para mas mapababa pa lalo ang mga kaso ng mga bata. Malaking tulong ang ginagawa ng HLAF sa nasabing BCPC, sa pagtulong nila upang fully-mai-implement ang batas para sa mga bata.

 

Isa pa, malaking tulong ang partnership with organizations, faith-based organizations and volunteers sapagkat nabibigyan ng tamang gabay, tamang programa (maaaring ayon sa kanilang gusto ngunit tinitingnan rin kung paano mabibigyan ng importansya ang gusto ng bata).

 

“Ang BCPC ay one of the most important councils in the barangay, naaalala ko nung Kabataan ko ang kanilang mga sitwasyon, kung tutuusin napakaswerte ko na kahit ganito ang nangyari sa akin, may pamilya akong nakakasama. Yun din sana ang gusto kong mangyari sa kanila, plano ng Diyos ito para sa akin, na baguhin at ayusin ang buhay ng mga batang ito”.

 

“Kaya’t laking pasasalamat na rin namin sa HLAF na natulungan at nagabayan ang aming barangay”.

 

He happily shared that Brgy. Talon Uno has been twice awarded as the “Most Outstanding Child-Friendly Barangay” in two consecutive years because of the programs in their BCPC and how they handle the children, and the families involved.

 

 

End.

Ateneo CLED students partner with HLAF to conduct a forum on jail conditions and lowering of the MACR

Written by Eriel A. Gabriel and Ma. Luisa Bautista
Category:

 

 

Ateneo School of Law- To have a deeper understanding of the present conditions of jails in the country and tackle its underlying issues and the notion to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Clinical Legal Education (CLED) students of the Ateneo School of Law, in partnership with the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, congregate to conduct a forum last November 27, 2017.

Participated by the students from CLED and other HLAF staffs, the forum started with an opening remarks delivered by Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, HLAF’s Executive Director and instructor of the CLED program. “We would like to know if imprisonment is an effective solution to crimes.” Atty. Abitria quoted.

J/Insp. Jayrex Bustinera, BJMP of the Manila City Jail, served as the first speaker who discussed the current conditions of detention facilities and jails in NCR. An experience from a former inmate was shared by Mr. Nestor dela Cruz.

In relation to the present notion to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility, Dr. Yvonne Entico, Psychiatrist from Medical Action Group gave a scientific explanation about the cognitive ability of a child to understand the consequences of their actions and why they should be given separate treatment from the adults who committed unlawful acts.

Ms. Claudette Almadin, RSW, Senior Community Organizer of HLAF, introduced the Focused Reintegration of Ex-Detainees (FRED) program of the organization.

After all the speakers gave their talks, the open forum was opened to give the attendees the chance to ask questions to the speakers. As the questions were answered, Mr. Edward Chua, student representative of CLED 102 formally closed the forum.

This initiative served as an avenue for the speakers from different sectors to hear each side and to be able to also address the issues to the CLED students present in the forum.

###

 

 

Advocates and implementers of juvenile justice come together for the BCPC Congress 2017

Written by Ma. Luisa Bautista
Category:

 

Sta. Maria, Bulacan- “Tayo Rin Para Sa Bata:  A community's response to the challenge of sustainable implementation of juvenile justice” served as this year’s theme of the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation for the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children Congress 2017 participated by among 165 delegates from the members of the BCPC held last December 11-12 at Sitio Lucia Resort.

The congress showcased the remarkable and effective barangay practices from the partner barangays of HLAF in accordance to the implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act in the community level.

During the first day of the event, participants from Quezon City, Malabon City, Navotas City and Caloocan and other active implementers of the law protecting the children and the youth were gathered. Barangays who were already chosen and qualify for the Tatak Barangay Contest presented their practices among the audience and the judges. These barangays were from Brgy. Culiat, Commonwealth, and Greater Lagro, Quezon City.

Child Protection Officer of UNICEF, Mr. Jesus Far; Ms. Marlyn Verian-Pulga from ASMAE Philippines; and Information Management Officer of CARE Philippines, Mr. Randy Rimpongan graced the event and headed the panel interviews among the contenders in the Tatak Barangay Contest. This contest was made to determine the best practices of the barangays in implementing the JJWA. 

Napakaraming struggle pero ang nakakatuwa po kay Bimbo ay pag tinatawag siya eh nagbibihis siya ng maganda. Parang sige lang, continue lang. Yun po ay malaki nang pagbabago, yung magbibihis siya, laging nakangiti, nakayakap. Napakahirap buksan ang puso ng bata para makapagkwento, ito po ay dahilan sa mga case manager namin. Nakakuha po kami ng katuwang sa pagsulong ng karapatan ng mga bata.”, Kgd. Cristina Bernardino addressed while presenting their entry for the Tatak Barangay Contest during the Congress.

During the Gawad Kalayaan with the theme, “Para sa mga Mapagpalaya”, nominees and winners for the Tatak Barangay Contest and other categories to highlight the remarkable efforts of the youth, adults and organization behind the success of their practices in the barangay were given recognition and trophies.

The winners for the Tatak Barangay Contest were:

Tatak Barangay Award Champion- Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City

Tatak Barangay Award First Runner-Up- Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Tatak Barangay Award Second Runner-Up- Brgy. Greater Lagro, Quezon City

 

"Naniniwala ang HLAF na bawat tao ay may dignidad. Kung gusto nating i-promote ang dignity ng bawat tao, mas maganda na makikipagtulungan ang HLAF sa gobyerno, nakikipag-usap sa bawat duty bearers. Yung objectives na yun ang siyang naging tali kung bakit tayo ay nagkaroon ng isang magandang bonding because we all want to promote yung dignidad ng tao, kahit ano pa ang kanyang nakaraan.”, said Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria as he welcomed the invited guests and participants during the Gawad Kalayaan 2017.

Other participants who were recognized during the event were:

Outstanding Child Rights Advocates (Individual Children/Youth Category)

Mark Kevin Amador - Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City
Sherwin Bumanglag - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Charles Solar - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Ma.Michaella Balleta Flores - Brgy. Longos, Malabon City

Outstanding Child Rights Advocates (Individual Adult Category)


Kgd. Cristina Bernardino - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Alvin Abdul - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Thricia Mae Esguerra - Brgy. Tinajeros, Malabon City

Xyza May Espinosa - Brgy. Tinajeros, Malabon City
Rubilyn Abagao - Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City
Melbrian Aňoza - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

Outstanding Child Rights Advocates (Organization Category)

Anak ng Culiat Theater Group - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
City Government of Navotas City
Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Greater Lagro, Quezon City
Malabon City's Barangay Children and Youth Association (BCYA)

Best Case Managers (Individual Category)

Alelia Bernardo - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
Ramir Aroc - Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
Leticia Siasit - Brgy. Longos, Malabon City
Merlie Quilala - Brgy. Longos, Malabon City

Mercy Aloro - Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City

Best in Case Management (Organization Category)

Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Longos, Malabon City

Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City
Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) of Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City

On the second day of the Congress, the panel interviewers composed of HLAF’s Executive Director, Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, winners of the Tatak Barangay Contest representatives- Ms. Rubilyn Abagao (Brgy. Commonwealth), Kgd. Cristina Bernardino (Brgy. Culiat) and Ms. (Greater Lagro). Sherwin Bumanglag and Mark Kevin Amador (Outstanding Child Rights Advocate Children/Youth Category); Ms. Mhel Soque (Navotas) and Ms. Alelia Bernardo (Brgy. Culiat) also joined the panel interviewers as the open forum went through. The forum aimed to share the experiences of their respective BCPC members among the other participants.

"Bakit nga ba may BCPC Congress? Ito yung platform natin na naga-gather tayo, nakikita yung mga iba’t ibang city. May mga ibang privinces kung saan pinag-uusapan natin yung problema at challenges at best practices para ma-sustain ang juvenile justice sa community level.", said Ms. Claudette Almadin, HLAF’s senior community organizer as she facilitated the open forum.

HLAF annually conducts the BCPC Congress in order to recognize the efforts made by the barangays in exercising the JJWA among the community level and also discuss the challenges they encountered while implementing their programs for the entire year to adapt and gather strategies to further implement their practices.

 

### 

HLAF, DLSU Dasmariñas partners for a juvenile justice training

Written by Eriel A. Gabriel
Category:

 

DLSU-Dasmarinas- Fourty-six enrolees coming from different regions completed the three-day training course on juvenile justice entitled: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (RA 9344 as amended by RA 10630) The Legal, the Welfare and the Restorative Side last October 25-27, 2017.

The Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation partners with the De La Salle University - Dasmariñas, one of the leading academes in the country with first-hand experience in handling institution-based CICL through their Bahay Pag - Asa Dasmariñas, to give a better understanding of the juvenile justice among the participants of the training course.

In the first day of training, HLAF’s Senior Community Organizer and Social Worker, Ms. Claudette Almadin, RSW, facilitated the training and welcomed the attendees. Participants of the training course on Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 are also divided into six groups and presented their creative representation about the difference of a child and an adult, and the difference and implications during the Child Sensitivity discussion.

Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, Executive Director of HLAF, discussed the salient features of the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 on the second day of the training course. Each of the participants were also given the chance to raise their questions as the discussion about the law went through.

The third day revolved in the discussion of the healing effects of crime and simulation of the Restorative Justice Conferencing. The participants was divided into six groups and presented a scenario about a child who committed a crime and presented their way of handling such kind of situations in the community.

It ended with the awarding of certificates among the participants together with a staff from DLSU-Dasma and Ms. Almadin of HLAF. Dean Alrien Dausan of the College of Criminal Justice also graced the closing part of the training.

This is the second part of the three sets of training course which focuses on concepts about juvenile justice. The remaining training course will be held on November 14-16 at the same venue.

###