The people of Northern Mindanao especially those belonging to the marginalized sector will soon have access to free legal assistance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) with the relaunch of the first regional Justice Action Center in the country – DOJAC Region X last March 6, 2020 located at the Ground Floor of Fabe Building, Pueblo de Oro Township, Upper Carmen in Cagayan de Oro.

The DOJ and the local government of Cagayan de Oro (CDO) City in partnership with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – Misamis Oriental Chapter and Liceo de Cagayan University – College of Law signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the DOJAC.

The agreement was signed by Undersecretary Juliana Gaviola Sunga representing Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra for the DOJ, City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno for the local government of CDO, President Atty. Carlo B. Almirante for the IBP Misamis Oriental, and Liceo College of Law Dean Atty. Manuel I. Cabrera for the Liceo Legal Aid Center. The ceremony was witnessed by Assistant Secretary Sergio E. Yap II, Assistant Secretary in-charge of the DOJ Action Center (DOJAC), Atty. Jo-Ann R. Alcid, DOJAC Program Director, and Pros. Merlynn B. Uy, Acting Regional Prosecutor of Region X.

DOJ Action Center extends free legal service and assistance to the public. Free legal assistance includes the giving of legal advice and referrals, and the taking of oaths which are not connected with a complaint or a pending case. Free legal service consists of the giving of legal representations to courts (with the help of PAO Lawyer) the drafting of pleadings, mediation and conciliation. In 2019, DOJAC served a total of 11,699 clients.

It was established on 28 February 1985 as a “Public Assistance Center,” then later renamed the “Public Assistance and Complaints Unit” on 03 May 1989. It became DOJAC pursuant to Department Order No. 204 issued on 22 June 1995, aimed at providing assistance to the people especially the marginalized sector, in the speedy solution or actions to their problem within the bureaus and agencies under the DOJ and other government agencies.

Consistent with the government’s thrust to bring the Department closer to the people, DOJAC moved for its regionalization, with the aim of relaunching a Justice Action Center in every region nationwide.

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