The partnership between the Diocese of Novaliches, through its Justice and Peace Ministry (JPM), and the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) went up the next level with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last December 4, 2019 at the Caritas Novaliches Office in Fairview, Q.C.
With the objective of assisting families of human rights victims and help them integrate back to society, the MOU expanded IDEALS’ services beyond documentation of legal cases and include the education component and legal assistance.
The salient points of the MOU, among others, include the initial documentation and classification by JPM of the needs for human rights education as well as legal and paralegal services; with IDEALS facilitating such education wherein the principles of human rights, the rule of law as well as the basic handling of violation cases in the community are discussed.
The Most Rev. Roberto O. Gaa, D.D., signing for the Diocese, and Edgardo Ligon, IDEALS’ executive director, both lauded the partnership. The Bishop said IDEALS’ mission matches the role of the Church.
“It matches the role of the Church as the voice and representative of the marginalized, disempowered and vulnerable groups,” the Bishop said in Filipino, adding that the Church is an institution that always stands for what is right, and most of the time, being silenced for doing so.
“If the Church remains faithful in her role, we will not fail,” he continued. “It is not possible for the Church not to take a stand.”
During the MOU signing, Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Rev. Fr. Antonio E. Labiao revealed the human rights violations that had transpired over the years, which included problems on land and housing with a lot of demolitions in Quezon City and the extra-judicial killings (EJKs) that led to the much-needed collaboration between the Diocese and IDEALS.
“We thought this is the right time to formally set up the Justice and Peace Ministry,” Fr. Labiao revealed, adding the need for legal missions in the community level to initially educate people became evident. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)