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SC orders release of 31 Olongapo inmates

October 21, 2008 6:19pm

MANILA, Philippines –The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered the release of at least 31 inmates from the Olongapo District Jail in Olongapo City.

In a media statement on Tuesday, the SC said the release was in line with its Enhanced Justice on Wheels (EJOW) Program and its Increasing Justice to the Poor Program.

In the program’s launching led by SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines likewise provided free medical and dental services to a total of 234 inmates and free legal assistance to 148 detainees.

Mobile court hearings were also conducted in the Olongapo District Jail where about 705 inmates are detained.

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Oswaldo Agcaoili also gave 300 Aetas from different barangays in Olongapo City an overview lecture on the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act and Agrarian and Environmental Laws.

The conduct of the lectures during the Information Dissemination and Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples was a first in the history of the EJOW Program.

The Aetas also participated in the lecture titled “Rights and Access to Justice of Indigenous Women and Children" by Deputy Court Administrator Nimfa C. Vilches, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on JOW.

Enhanced Justice on Wheels Program

More than 300 inmates have been ordered released since the EJOW Program’s initial launch in Manila last August 2008.

The program’s components include: medical and dental mission for inmates, information dissemination by professors from the Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja) on the rights of the poor and marginalized sectors, and dialogue with judges on how to increase access to justice by the poor.

Launched in August 2008 in Manila, the EJOW has been conducting information dissemination on barangay captains on their power and function to protect the rights of women and children under Republic Act 9262 (The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004) and R.A. 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006).

The program has been launched in Caloocan City, Quezon City, Cebu City, Aklan province, Davao City, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Bacoor town in Cavite province, and Leyte province. - Sophia Dedace, GMANews.TV
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