February 6th, 2016 | by Balaod Mindanaw
Community-based Paralegal Formation and Peace-Building
The aftermath of the 30 January 2011 tactic session in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur among the irrigators, is a Paralegal Training that was held on 23 and 24 February 2011. With representatives coming from 12 irrigators’ organizations, 48 attended the said training. The activity was conducted primarily for the strengthening of the irrigators’ organizations in the pursuit to continue their advocacy to protect their watershed from destructive mining activities. Another result of the training was the plan to show force on 23 March 2011 before the trial court during the hearing on their mining case. The training was supported by the National Irrigation Authority, provincial offcie. The participants themselves likewise contributed and pulled their resources for the realization of the same.
While a Paralegal Training was being conducted in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, a Mindanaw Consultation on National Land Use Policy was also held in Cagayan de Oro, gathering civil society groups, peoples’ organizations and concerned agencies that share the same call to have a national legislation that will address resource issues particularly overlapping claims in a specific area. Congresswoman Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao of Akbayan Partylist was the main speaker during the consultation. She provided the participants salient features of her proposed bill on Zoning and Land Use Policy Act (ZLUPA).
Mainstreaming Alternative Lawyering
Networking and Advocacy
BALAOD Mindanaw maintains its active participation to various national and local coalitions. For the Alternative Law Groups, a coalition of 20 legal resource institutions, BALAOD participated in the finalization of a Resource Book on Traditional Justice System, collating different practices of indigenous people in the country on settling disputes and resolving cases. This intends to raise public awareness on the IP justice system and hopes to influence the judiciary in integrating IP practices in the Philippine justice system. In the development of a training manual as regards the newly promulgated Rules of Procedure on Environmental Cases, BALAOD was assigned to develop modules on “The Judiciary”, “The Law and the Philippine Legal System”, and “Affidavit Making and Legal Interview”. Likewise, as Region 10 Coordinator for the Community-based Human Rights Dialogue Project of ALG, BALAOD continuously takes part in the realization of the objectives of the same as it intends to conduct HR dialogues in all the regions in the Philippines.
For fisheries issues, BALAOD, as the Regional Nerve Center for Mindanaw, participated in the NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR) Strategic Assessment and Planning on 3 & 4 February 2011 which was held in Pampanga. During this activity, NFR reviewed important organizational documents and assess the coalition’s relevance in the changing society. NFR decided that for the year 2011, the coalition will give priority to the call for reversion of abandoned, undeveloped and underutilized fishponds to mangroves. BALAOD likewise took part in the National Validation of Comprehensive Fisheries Management Ordinance integrating fisheries management framework in the said document. The same is a model ordinance that can be offered to local government units that intend to adopt a local social legislation particularly on marine and fisheries resource management.
The revival of Center for Alternative Lawyering of Liceo (CALL) thru the initiative of Professor Eldred “Edco” Cole, likewise revived the partnership of the said law school-based organization with BALAOD Mindanaw. On 16 January 2011, the documentary film Abogado ng Bayan was shown to the students and on 30 January 2011, CALL had their Basic Orientation Seminar on Paralegalism and Alternative Lawyering which was facilitated by BALAOD. 20 law students were assigned to BALAOD for their two-month internship. All of them were assigned research work focusing on BALAOD advocacies. Some were exposed in case handling where they are expected to attend court hearings and draft legal documents pertinent to their respective assigned case. Some were likewise involved in the publication of the organization doing editing and lay outing.
Thru this internship and partnership with CALL, BALAOD is responsible for the formation of law students. The two-month internship of the students is but a small start for two organizations. In fact, several plans were identified in sustaining such relationship.
Organizational (Administrative and Finance)
13 years after the death of two alternative lawyering colleagues Bobby Gana and Caloy Ollado in the Cebu Pacific Flight 387 tragedy, on 2 February 2011, BALAOD went to Oro Gardens to reminisce good old days with Bob and Caloy and how they inspire other law practitioners to adopt alternative lawyering as a way of life. It has been an annual tradition for BALAOD and for this year, BALAOD had it with the families and friends.
BALAOD likewise had its office renovation. The new office design contributes to an environment of continued alternative lawyering work. As to date, there are two vacant rooms for rent.