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PH’s 1st ‘Green Justice Zone’ Launched To Handle Environmental Cases

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Justice sector stakeholders on Friday launched the country’s first “Green Justice Zone” in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to help facilitate legal and judicial services on environmental issues.

The Justice Sector Coordinating Council’s (JSCC) Puerto Princesa City Justice Zone is also the country’s third “specialty” justice zone.

The first specialty justice zone was put up in Zamboanga City in February to handle cases of trafficking of persons while the second was launched in Tagaytay City to handle cases arising from economic development projects.

The JSCC was formed by the Supreme Court, Department of Justice, and Department of the Interior and Local Government in 2010.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has since joined.

“Establishing a Green Zone is, therefore, the Justice Sector’s concrete contribution towards affording our people their constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. In our Puerto Princesa Green Zone, the justice sector actors will deliver responsive and real-time justice services to our constituents,” Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said in his message during the launch.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, meanwhile, said, “The present launch is expected to intensify the coordination among the five pillars of the criminal justice in Puerto Princesa City, particularly the adjudication process for environment-related cases, and other environmental initiatives.”

Among the activities lined up for the Green Zone is the creation of a Green Book, which will serve as a manual for handling environmental cases, detailing the end-to-end processes and procedures for all cases impacting the environment.

The manual will cover the monitoring and reporting aspect, investigation and case build-up side, to the prosecution and trial phase, until judgment, and ending in post-judgment, in the execution stage, which will include the all-important restoration, indemnity, and reparation steps. (PNA)

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