𝐕𝐢𝐚 𝐙𝐨𝐨𝐦, 𝟏𝟒 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑 – In a groundbreaking virtual meeting, the Supreme Court of the Philippines took a significant step toward safeguarding the environment and promoting sustainability by discussing a proposal of designating Puerto Princesa as a Green Environmentally-Friendly Justice Zone (Green Zone). Chaired by Associate Justice Filomena Singh, the meeting gathered key stakeholders to deliberate on vital measures aimed at bolstering environmental protection efforts within the region.
Present in the Zoom conference were the PCSDS Executive Director Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, PCSDS Acting Executive Director Niño Estoya, Director Levita Lagrada, EPRPD Chief John Pontillas, EPRPD Staff Luigi Lubrico, and Atty. Sarah Diva from PCSDS Legal Services Section.
One of the major points discussed was the possible crafting of a comprehensive manual for all stakeholders involved in the legal process, including judges, prosecutors, and law enforcers. This manual would serve as a guide in handling environmental cases, ensuring that all parties have a shared understanding of the unique challenges and complexities these cases entail.
Furthermore, the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases were proposed to be slated for revision to adapt to the ever-evolving environmental landscape and promote a more efficient and effective adjudication process. The proposed revisions seek to streamline environmental litigation, reduce delays, and deliver more consistent and fair judgments.
The meeting participants also deliberated on the opportunity of enhancing community engagement within the Green Zone. The involvement of local communities in environmental initiatives is paramount, as it fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility for protecting the natural resources that sustain their livelihoods.
Acting on the belief that post-judgment evaluations are essential for continuous improvement, the participants explored the idea of conducting assessments of how environmental cases have been decided. Such evaluations would help identify strengths and weaknesses in the judicial process, ultimately leading to better outcomes and higher standards for environmental cases.
Another key initiative and proposal was the extension of the E-Subpoena system to the adjudication of environmental cases. This technological advancement would streamline the documentation and communication processes involved in legal proceedings, reducing paperwork and expediting court processes.
The Supreme Court’s determination to create a Green Zone in Puerto Princesa signifies a momentous stride toward sustainability, showcasing the Philippine judiciary’s dedication to the environment’s preservation. With the groundwork laid down during this Zoom meeting, the future is looking greener and more environmentally conscious for Puerto Princesa and the entire nation.