Reforms in SoCot barangay justice system pushed

By Anna Liza Cabrido

October 2, 2017, 7:28 pm

KORONADAL CITY -- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in South Cotabato is pushing for the implementation of various reforms to improve the barangay justice system in the province.

Aurora Andrea de Pedro, DILG provincial director, said Monday they are currently assisting the province’s 199 barangays to enhance the mechanisms and operations of their Katarungang Pambarangay.

She said they have adopted as model Barangay Poblacion in Polomolok town that topped the Region 12 search for the best barangay justice system last year.

In the last several years, the official said the barangay council of Poblacion, Polomolok has introduced eight innovations that helped institutionalize its justice system.

De Pedro said the council had rolled out a “justice on wheels” program, wherein members of its Lupong Tagapamayapa conduct mediation process at the purok level to de-clog pending complaints.

She said it has enlisted barangay justice advocates among residents to assist the implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay.

“The council has also been conducting house-to-house visitations to settle disputes among neighbors,” she said.

The other “high impact innovations” of Barangay Poblacion, Polomolok include the “I-text kay Kap JR ang problema mo” campaign, which facilitates reporting of problems by residents through cellphone text messaging.

Vicente Yungco, Poblacion barangay chair, said they have implemented the computerized case recording system and maintains a data bank of cases filed at the barangay.

“The salient feature of this is that it will alarm the barangay when a resident claiming a barangay clearance has a pending case with us,” he said.

Barangay Poblacion, Polomolok is a consistent winner of the DILG’s Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentive Award (LTIA).

In 2012, it was adjudged as the second best in the country and eventually topped the national search the next two succeeding years or in 2013 and 2014.

De Pedro said the DILG-12 has adopted Barangay Poblacion, Polomolok as a “training center” for other barangays in the region.

Also known as Soccsksargen, the region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Owing to this, de Pedro said they are hoping to develop more model barangay justice systems in the province in the coming years.

“Our goal is to instutionalize the system further among our barangays and mainstream the indigenous mediation structures that are capable of resolving disputes within a community, and beyond the formal courts of justice,” she added. (PNA)