Dagupan City becomes home to 13th Justice Zone, boosting collaborative justice delivery

DAGUPAN CITY (PIA) — The Philippine justice system took a step forward with the inauguration of the 13th Justice Zone in Dagupan City.

This initiative, spearheaded by the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC), promises to streamline judicial processes and enhance accountability.

The JSCC, a collaboration between the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), considers the establishment of Justice Zones as its flagship program.

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo emphasized its role in fostering a coordinated or sectoral approach to justice delivery.

“A Justice Zone serves as a strategic area where pivotal programs concerning justice delivery are implemented to enhance coordination among various agency stakeholders, addressing the persistent issue of delays and the overarching problem of accountability,” Gesmundo elaborated.

The Dagupan City Justice Zone will facilitate real-time cooperation between local courts, law enforcement, and other justice sector institutions.

Gesmundo expressed confidence that this “bayanihan” (communal effort) approach will rebuild public trust in the justice system and solidify the rule of law.

Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez welcomed the project.

She highlighted its alignment with the city’s commitment to expanding legal aid services, particularly for underserved communities.

“The Justice Zone complements our existing initiatives,” said Mayor Fernandez.

She added, “These include the Women’s Center, Teen Center, ‘Balay Silangan’ project, and programs focused on rescuing abused women and children, victim protection, and rehabilitation of young drug users.”

“We thank you for this opportunity to bring the Justice Zone to  Dagupan and including our city and the rest of the province of Pangasinan this monumental effort to pursue a national discussion on how to make our courts, our prosecution service, law enforcement and corrections thrive in their respective business in government,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez announced that the city government will designate space within the existing Women’s Center on Bonifacio Street in Barangay Poblacion Oeste for the Justice Zone’s operations.

This marks a significant development for the Philippines’ justice system.

The first Justice Zone opened in Quezon City in 2014.

Since then, 11 others have been established nationwide, including Cebu City, Davao City, Angeles City in Pampanga, Bacolod City in Negros Island, Naga City in Camarines Sur, Calamba in Laguna, Balanga City in Bataan, Baguio City, Zamboanga City, Tagaytay City, and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

The Dagupan City Justice Zone marks the program’s first venture into the Ilocos Region. (JCR/AMB/EMSA/PIA Pangasinan)

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