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" We harness each
other's strengths
in the developmental 
use of the law and critical 
engagement of the
legal system. "

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The Organization

The Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALG) is a coalition of twenty three (23) legal resource non-governmental organizations that adhere to the principles and values of alternative or developmental law. These organizations have distinct programs for developmental legal assistance that is primarily concerned with the pursuit of public interest, respect for human rights and promotion of social justice.   At the heart of developmental law is the dual work of empowering the poor and the marginalized, and effecting justice system reforms.  The first component entails enhancing the capacity of the poor and marginalized groups to access and use judicial, quasi-judicial and other mechanisms for addressing their issues and concerns, and for protecting and enforcing their rights. The second focuses on the pursuit of a favorable policy environment that promotes the rights and interests of the poor and marginalized

ALG members’ operations cover a wide area of concerns involving justice issues of the poor and marginalized groups in the Philippines.   These include issues on women, labor, peasant, fisherfolk, children, urban poor, indigenous peoples, persons living with HIV-AIDS, local governance, and the environment.   Collectively, the coalition members’ operations cover the entire country, with some ALG members having nationwide coverage and operating in different areas throughout the Philippines, and others focusing their operations on a particular locality or region.   Although the coalition members have their respective program priorities and strategies in their respective areas of operations, their work can be categorized into four major components: Education, Policy Reform Work, Litigation, and Research and Publication.

The ALG promotes and protects the environment and natural resources of the Filipino people, especially the indigenous people's rights and welfare; gender equality, including reproductive health rights, crucial to attaining equitable distribution of resources and opportunities and sustainable development for the poor and marginalized; democratic participation in governance and local development planning, upholding the people's sacred freedoms to information, free speech and expression; human rights and development by seeking to understand political, economic, social and cultural reasons for poverty, marginalization and disempowerment of vulnerable groups, and giving them a voice; land and tenurial rights by working towards pro-people implementation of redistributive land reform and rational, holistic, just, participatory and democratic land use planning; and justice reform through the empowerment of the marginalized groups, legal education, policy advocacy, strengthening alternative dispute resolute mechanisms, ensuring transparency and accountability of the judiciary, and institutional capacity-building of the ALG as a justice reform advocate.

The ALG is seen as a model by other legal resource organizations not only in the Asian region, but also in other parts of the world.    This is because of the ALG’s unique work that combines grassroots empowerment (primarily through education and litigation support) with policy reform work that engages different branches of the government (working for laws and executive issuances, and pursuing test case litigation).   Moreover, while there are similar legal resource NGOs in other countries, the ALG has been successful in doing work collectively, i.e., in combining the efforts and resources of the twenty member organizations in collective action.    

As early as the year 2000, the work of the ALG has already been recognized through publications that were widely disseminated globally.  A substantive section of Many Roads to Justice, a publication of the Ford Foundation, which attempted to convey the activities of people who wield the law for social change, includes descriptions of the work of the ALG in the Philippines and highlights its accomplishment.   Another article, Achievements in Building and Maintaining the Rule of Law, released by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in November 2002, included a country study on the Philippines that focused on the work of the ALG.

A study conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in 2007, Research On The Poor Accessing Justice and the ALG as Justice Reform Advocate, confirmed the contribution of the ALG in improving access to justice by the poor.   The study report concluded, among others:

Has the ALG made an impact on the ability of the marginalized to obtain justice?
Survey results show, even if indirectly, that the ALG has made a significant impact in improving the ability of the marginalized groups to obtain justice. ALG partners are more knowledgeable than non-ALG partners about rights, procedures and practical actions to engage the justice system. This is likely a result of the education and training program of the ALG members. This finding is supported by the comments of FGD participants pointing to the importance and benefits of IEC and paralegal trainings conducted by ALG members.

A more recent study, Community Based Paralegalism in the Philippines: From Social Movements to Democratization (Franco, Soliman, and Cisnero), was released by the World Bank early this year, as part of its Justice and Development Working Paper Series.  The paper documents and examines the state of community-based paralegal work in the Philippines, and focuses extensively on the experience of the Alternative Law Groups.


OUR MEMBERS

alterlaw

ahrc

balaodmindanao

children legal bereau

ERDA

EnGendeRights

elacfreelava

humanrightsunlimited

TEBTEBBA

kaisahan

kanlungan

Legal Rights

PBPF

PLRC

process panay

PEJC

R Rights

saligan

panlipi

Tanggol Kalikasan

Womens Legal

WomenLEAD

 

 

Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALG)
Room 216 Benigno Mayo Hall, Ateneo de Manila University,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Telephone Nos.: (632) 426 85 69 (Fax/Direct Line)
Trunkline No.:(632) 426 60 01 loc. 4865

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