SC eyes mediation center in Bukidnon

Bacal has invited judges and justice stakeholders in the province to an orientation conference on April 3 at the Pine Hills Hotel, which is part of a process en route to the opening of a local mediation center, an employee at the RTC Branch 10 said. 

The Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and the Philippine Mediation Center, Bacal said, will conduct the conference in coordination with the Office of the Court Coordinator.

She said the activity aims to promote and implement court-annexed mediation program of the RTC, as an alternative mode of settling legal controversies, “speedily, conveniently, and peacefully.”   

Her letter said the conference will be a venue of sharing any innovative ideas to be considered for the success of the PMC of Bukidnon.
Mediation, according to www.pmc.org.ph,  is a process of settling disputes “with the assistance of an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party called a mediator”.

“The mediator helps parties identify issues and develop proposals to resolve their disputes. Once the parties have arrived at a mutually acceptable arrangement, the agreement becomes the basis for the court’s decision on the case,” the website said.

In an en banc resolution dated October 16, 2001 and in line with the objectives of the Action Program for Judicial Reforms to decongest court dockets, among others, the SC prescribed guidelines in institutionalizing and implementing the mediation program in the Philippines, it added.

The same resolution designated the Philippine Judicial Academy as the component unit of the SC for Court-Annexed Mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms, and established the PMC.

Pending the formal creation of a more organized and structured PMC, a Mediation Division at the Judicial Reforms Office of the Philippine Judicial Academy-Supreme Court, was established to oversee and manage Mediation Center Units all over the country.

This form of mediation, the website said, is also known as court-annexed mediation since the case has already been filed in court.

Another innovation in the Philippine court system is the judicial dispute resolution, which means bringing a case to the judge when court-annexed mediation fails. The judge then acts as conciliator, neutral evaluator and mediator. 

Northern Mindanao has a PMC in Cagayan de Oro City.

The announcement of creating a PMC in Bukidnon came on the heels of demands for more judges and prosecutors in the province following complaints of clogging of cases in courts and congestion of detainees in jails. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)