The University of the Philippines College of Law (UP Law) has joined the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) for the Human Rights E-Lawyering Service Project (HR-ELS) that aims to provide real-time legal advice to citizens on their rights through the use of smart technology.
UP Law, through the UP Law Office of Legal Aid in partnership with the Governance in Justice (GOJUST) Project, joined the HR-ELS project launch on December 10, 2020, which coincided with the celebration of International Human Rights Day.
The HR-ELS is expected to help in delivering timely and much-needed legal aid to Filipinos whose human rights have been violated.
Commissioner Roberto Eugenio T. Cadiz stressed the importance of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)’s collaboration with law institutions such as the UP College of Law, in the protection of human rights. Cadiz noted that while people cannot be denied rights without due process of law, they are sometimes forgotten, or even willfully disregarded, in the implementation of government programs.
Cadiz said that given the limited resources of the CHR, everyone should be concerned with human rights as a pillar of the rule of law and good governance.
Atty. Ona Caritos, Project Head of the HR-ELS., outlined the HR-ELS’ objectives to provide immediate legal aid, legal education, and policy recommendations.
Professor Edgardo Carlo L. Vistan II, Executive Director of the UP College of Law Office of Legal Aid (UP-OLA), thanked the CHR for the opportunity to collaborate through the HR-ELS. According to Prof. Vistan, the HR-ELS also enables the UP College of Law and the UP-OLA to pursue their respective goals and mandates while enhancing the legal training and experience of their students and interns.
Further expressing his appreciation for the Service, Prof. Vistan says, “Sa panahon po ng madami at mabibigat na mga pagbabago sa ating lipunan, nakakatuwa po at nakakapag-bigay inspirasyon ‘pag nakikita natin na hindi natitinag, hindi tumitigil ang kagustuhan ng kapwa natin, tulad ng mga kasama natin sa Commission on Human Rights, at ‘yung mga kasama niyo pang organisasyon, [na harapin ang mga] hamon ng mga pagbabagong ito. Lalo na kung ito ay bunsod ng kaakibat na layunin na makatulong sa kapwa.”
To officially end the launch, Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana congratulated the HR-ELS team and expressed her excitement for what she believes will be a long and continuing partnership. Comm. Pimentel-Gana also extended her gratitude to all CHR offices, units, and partners who made the Service possible. She likewise commended the HR-ELS for its potential to make legal services more accessible to the most marginalized sectors of society and to exact accountability from Government and State actors.
“With your spirit of volunteerism and passion, we, together, the CHR and the UP-OLA students, can make a difference in the lives of PWDs, OFWs, senior citizens, indigenous peoples, LGBTQs, women and children, and other people out there who are marginalized and who would not be able to walk through our doors as of now, and who would also be fearful and scared to do so.”
The general public may get in touch with the CHR through these cellular and online platforms:
National Capital Region (CHR NCR)
- (0919) 444 7720 (Smart)
CHR Investigation Office
- (0963) 660 1364 (Globe)
- (0927) 328 2835 (Globe)
- (0961) 451 2426 (Smart)
- (0950) 369 9026 (Talk N’ Text)
CHR Legal Division
- (0961) 450 8590 (Smart)
- (0961) 451 2424 (Smart)
- (0961) 450 8568 (Smart)
CHR Public Assistance and Complaints Desk
- (0936) 068 0982 (Globe)
- (0920) 506 1194 (Smart)
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