Top officials of the Supreme Court and three other national government agencies gathered recently for the launching of Puerto Princesa as “Green Justice Zone” in an effort to improve and deliver a more comprehensive solution to the delivery of environmental justice which is part of the government’s resolve to have a justice zone focused on environmental protection and sustainable development.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga led the official declaration of Puerto Princesa as the country’s first green justice zone.
Also present were Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, HK Yu PSM, Christoph Wagner (Head of Cooperation of the European Union), Palawan Governor Dennis Socrates, and Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron, among others.
Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo described the country’s Green Justice Zone in Puerto Princesa as a comprehensive solution for justice sector to address the most urgent problem which is the environment and climate change.
“We are fully aware of the existential threat of climate change and that the duty to ensure a sustainable ecology is fundamental to all of our reforms,” Chief Justice Gesmundo said highlighting that our survival and that of the succeeding generations are at stake.
“The Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) has demonstrated beyond any doubt and even working together the judiciary and the executive does not entail sacrifice our independence nor our autonomy. This is sound democracy working,” Gesmundo said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos said that the primary focus of the Green Justice Zone will be on environmental protection and the proper management of the country’s natural resources as he underscored that the protection of the environment must be parallel with the efforts to enforce instituted legal mechanisms.
Justice Secretary Remulla informed that for the first time, the Department of Justice has acted on the environmental adversity caused by an oil spill. He also said that they are reviewing all maritime disasters in the last 10 years, with high hopes to deliver justice to the victims.
Environment Secretary Loyzaga stressed the need to enforce environmental laws and adopt effective measures to prevent and combat crimes that affect the environment.
The Green Justice Zone is part of the Justice Zone project, supported by European Union’s Justice Sector Reform Program, Governance in Justice II (GOJUSTII). It was established to enhance coordination and communication among JSCC’s principal agencies such as the Supreme Court, DOJ, DILG and DENR by serving