During the meeting with U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court discussed the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations, which aims to streamline court systems, create an Information and Communications Technology infrastructure for the judiciary, and increase access to justice by honing adjudicative and administrative processes. (Photo from US Embassy in the Philippines)

U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson and Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo formally launched a new U.S. government assistance project worth nearly P15 million ($250,000) to support ongoing judicial reform efforts in the Philippines.

The U.S. National Center for State Courts (NCSC) received the grant from the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the U.S. Department of State to aid in the Manila Justice Sector Reform Program’s implementation in support of the Supreme Court’s 2022–2027 Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations.

This 18-month program aims to lay the groundwork for future judicial reforms by assessing the Philippine judiciary’s current capacity, assisting strategic planning, and creating important performance benchmarks and success-measuring tools.

The NCSC is an American non-profit organization that provides technical assistance, training, and technology to enhance justice systems and services around the world.

Ambassador Carlson officially announced the grant during her courtesy call on Chief Justice Gesmundo at the Supreme Court on October 21.  Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, and Associate Justice Antonio T. Kho, Jr. were also present.

“The rule of law is essential in ensuring equal access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable,” Ambassador Carlson said to Chief Justice Gesmundo and to the Associate Justices.  “We must preserve democratic institutions and bring together like-minded countries because the rule of law is vital to democracy.  The United States values its longstanding partnership with the Philippines and remains committed to supporting the Supreme Court as it pursues judicial reforms.”

Chief Justice Gesmundo thanked the U.S. government and other partner agencies for their contributions “that have helped the Supreme Court become more efficient and effective in the administration of justice.”

Globally, INL assists partner governments assess, build, reform, and sustain competent and legitimate criminal justice systems, and develop and implement the architecture necessary for cross-border law enforcement cooperation.

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