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Recent Projects

Improving Capacity and Policy for More Effective Local Democratic Participatory Governance to Enable Women and Vulnerable Groups, and their Newly-Elected Local Government Officials, to Respond to the Challenges of Human Rights Promotion and Protection, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development.

This short-term project, which was supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), was implemented recently, from November 2013-February 2014.  It included the conduct of education/orientation sessions on local legislation and policy formulation in the areas of human rights promotion and protection, resource management, environmental protection, and gender responsiveness, and on the venues for people’s participation in local governance.   Three sessions were conducted: one for Luzon, one for Visayas, and one for Mindanaw.

The project sought to enhance the relationship between local communities, especially women and marginalized sectors, and their newly-elected local government officials, by enhancing the capacity of the two groups to develop and implement innovative local solutions to their problems, especially  in the four areas of:  (1) Promoting and Protecting Human Rights; (2) Access to, and proper management of resources (land, water, and forest); (3) Gender equality; and (4) Environmental protection, using participatory local governance processes.

Defend the Defenders Program (Program for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Defenders) (2009-2012; 2014-2015)

The Defend the Defenders Program or the Program for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Defenders Working on Economic, Social and Cultural Rightsis a funding mechanism for activities that seek to protect the country's defenders of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) against threatened or actual abuses and rights violations that they encounter in relation to their advocacy work.  The Defend the Defenders Program supports local strategies for the protection of human rights defenders who become vulnerable to violence, harassments, threats, and actual rights violations, because of their advocacy for ESCR. The program focuses on preventive measures, i.e., those that protect human rights defenders against violence, harassments, threats, or actual abuses, instead of measures that seek to hold accountable the persons or groups responsible for violence, harassments, threats, or abuses that had been committed.   

The initial phase of the Defend the Defenders Program was launched in December 2009 as a partnership between the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the ALG.  As administrator of the Program, the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) holds the funds, receives and processes proposals for funding support, disburses funds for approved proposals, and monitors project implementation and funds usage.   

Recognizing the significant contribution of this innovative program to supporting local strategies for the protection of human rights defenders, the program was re-launched in 2014, with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, through the KarapatansaMalikhaingParaan (KaSaMa), an inter-embassy and multi-stakeholder human rights initiative.  The program focused on funding support prioritizing women human rights defenders.

Improving Governance to Reduce Poverty:  Access to Justice for the Poor (2006-2008)

In 2001, the Supreme Court and the European Commission (EC) delegation to the Philippines initially discussed the possibility of an EC grant to fund activities in line with the Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR).  In 2003, the SC Project: Access to Justice for the Poor Project was approved by the EC and the Government of the Philippines. Later, the Supreme Court was replaced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as Executing Authority.

The project’s main objective was to enable the poor in general,and poor women and children in particular, in selected project areas, to pursue justice through their increased knowledge about basic rights and the judicial system, and to create an enabling, supportive environment to this effect within the judiciary and the institutions of law enforcement, as well as an overall legal framework amended to ensure the rights of poor women and children in particular. The project sought to expand theInformation, Education and Communication infrastructure of the Court system by delegating one Clerk of Court as Municipal Court Information Officer (MCIO) in the Municipal Courts in the project areas.  The project also sought to establish legal information desks in co-operation with the Barangay Council and Chairperson.  Capacity building activities were conducted for those involved in the Barangay Justice System, paralegals, women and children. An effort was made to enhance the sensitivity of those working in law enforcement and the judiciary to the problems of the poor.

Under the project, the ALG reviewed existing laws (and their implementation) directly relevant to the poor, and especially women and children, to check whether they are in compliance with human rights and internationalhuman rights conventions signed by the Republic of the Philippines. (This included the identification of amendments to the laws necessary to make them compliant with those human rights and international conventions).The ALG also advocated possible amendments in the laws, including the KatarungangPambarangay (Barangay Justice) system, in relevant fora including workshops meant to sensitize local and national government officials and members of Congress on the conditions of the poor and in particular of poor women and children.

The ALG managed the implementation of the Legal Reform Component of the Project and coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other project implementers.

Justice Reform Initiatives Support (JURIS) Project (2003-2008)

The Justice Reform Initiatives Support (JURIS) project was a five-year Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded project that began in February 2003 under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through which the Government of Canada assisted the Government of the Republic of the Philippines with its judicial reform program under the Supreme Court-led Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR).
    
The overall objective of the JURIS project was to contribute to Philippine efforts to foster efficient, fair, responsive, transparent, and accountable governance at all levels. In particular, the project had worked to strengthen and promote more effective use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, and to strengthen support for access to justice reforms and catalyze supportive reform through engaging internal and external governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders in cooperative advocacy efforts. The specific objective of the JURIS Project was to support the Supreme Court’s (SC) Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR) related to ADR and access to justice by the poor and marginalized.

The ALG managed the Reform Advocacy component of the JURIS Project, and participated in the management of the entire JURIS Project through the Joint Project Steering Committee.  Under the JURIS Project, the ALG launched and implemented advocacy campaigns on human rights and social justice issues, and worked with both policy makers and reform advocates.   Through its Internship Program, the ALG contributed to the formation of law students as human rights advocates, and enhanced the curriculum of partner law schools through the inclusion of human rights subjects in their program.    

The ALG also pursued test cases before the Supreme Court on public interest issues, and linked up with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and other legal advocacy groups.The ALG conducted a study on indigenous dispute resolution mechanisms. The study had two major components, with one focusing on indigenous peoples/tribes/communities and the other on Muslim communities in Mindanao.

With the strengthened capacity of the ALG as a major objective of the JURIS project, the coalition embarked on yearly capacity-building activities that enhanced the ALG’s ability to fulfill its dual role of effecting justice system reforms, and empowering poor and marginalized groups. The ALG conducted a continuing program of Gender Integration throughout the lifetime of the Project. 


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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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