The European Union Provides Equipment to the Philippine Courts in aid of COVID-19 response
PRESS RELEASE/ 24 July 2020
The European Union, through the GOJUST Programme, turned over 70 laptops worth Php 3M to the Supreme Court in support of efforts to conduct videoconferencing hearings amidst this COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure that the judiciary continues to perform their functions despite COVID-19, the Supreme Court recently required the conduct of videoconferencing hearings for criminal cases with Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) pursuant to Section 6 of Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 41 – 2020.
In addition to the laptops provided to the Supreme Court, GOJUST has also provided 120 multi-media tablets and different kinds of personal protective equipment to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to facilitate the safe participation of the PDLs in the videoconferencing hearings. A total of PHP 10 million has been mobilized to date through the GOJUST Programme to support justice sector agencies in their response to COVID19.
As early as August 2019, GOJUST has supported the Supreme Court in the initiation of the videoconferencing hearings in the Davao City justice zone. The lessons from the successful pilot in Davao allowed the Supreme Court to respond quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turnover to the Supreme Court
During the virtual turn over, Mr. Thomas Wiersing, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines, said that “the provision of the laptops aims at helping the court system to deliver justice and reduce the backlogs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that the videoconferencing for court proceedings could continue beyond the crisis to contribute to a more effective justice system.”
“With these new laptops and the 120 multi-media tablets that GOJUST has also provided to the BJMP, we expect more videoconferencing hearings to be conducted, especially in areas that need it most,” said Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta. “Indeed, it is in challenging times, such as these, that we are given the opportunity to rise to the occasion and work together to find new and different ways to improve our operations and strengthen our institution.”
In the same event, the Manual on Caseflow Management for New Trial Court Judges was also presented virtually.
The Governance in Justice (GOJUST) Programme is funded by the European Union (EU) with a value of over PHP900M.
GOJUST works primarily with the key justice sector institutions (Supreme Court, Department of Justice and Department of the Interior and Local Government) to 1) strengthen sector coordination and policy making, 2) creating space for reform implementation through decongestion and automation, and 3) generating resources for reform implementation through the improvement of administrative and financial management. The Programme runs from 2016 to September 2020.