SALIGAN has four core programs on the rights of workers, gender equality, children’s rights, and people’s participation in governance. These programs cut across SALIGAN’s specialized programs on housing rights, environment, peace, IP right, and other human rights issues. SALIGAN’s strategies include litigation support, legal education, policy advocacy, research, and publication of popular legal materials.
1. WORKERS’ RIGHTS
SALIGAN continues to influence pro-labor amendments to the Labor Code, engages in the discussion of public sector union issues, and addresses migrant workers’ concerns. We also address issues of security of tenure, the right to living wage and speedy labor justice, the welfare of women workers and child labor.
SALIGAN continues to handle labor cases that meet the outlined criteria. Tactic sessions are also conducted with paralegals of partner-unions and organizations from the paralegal formation program. These legal clinics serve as venues for sharing experiences in actual case handling and updating themselves on developments in their respective unions.
Leaders of workers’ groups are trained as paralegals to help their organizations address various legal problems. The comprehensive paralegal education program is conducted for six months, with six- to nine-session hours per week. Annually, one- or two-day basic seminars are held to discuss the basic legal provisions on workers’ rights.
In consultation with our partners, SALIGAN participates in policy debates concerning the review of the existing labor laws and policies, specifically the Labor Code of the Philippines, the principal set of legislation on labor. We attend congressional hearings, conferences and fora, and push for needed changes in the country’s labor laws and policies.
-Research and publication
In support of its other activities under the Labor Program, SALIGAN develops and publishes manuals, seminar kits, policy papers, legal opinion, and primers. Among these are: Manual ng Manggagawang Paralegal, 10 Karapatan ng Mga Manggagawa, Saligan Batas, Kasambahay Law Primer, and Labor Laws for NGO Workers. Significant case law are also published in the SALIGAN website.
2. GENDER EQUALITY
SALIGAN handles cases of victims of gender-based violence and advocate for the enactment of laws and issuance of policies addressing women’s issues towards gender equality. We also have women paralegals than assist litigants in the courtroom and other concerns in their communities. Gender issues are mainstreamed in all of SALIGAN’s programs and activities.
Case acceptance and handling are guided by the precedent-setting criteria in the selection of cases. Primarily, it should involve issue of violence against women or women’s participation in governance.
SALIGAN also schedule regular legal consultation sessions for walk-in clients and those referred by partners.
Women in the communities are formed into paralegals that would assist litigants in and outside the courtroom with knowledge of court procedure and substantive law. Aside from advice on court-related matters, women paralegals also provide insight on options for women in crisis. There is also continued monitoring of paralegals through regular clinics. In addition, SALIGAN conducts regular programs on legal literacy.
SALIGAN’s advocacy and policy reform are aimed at executive, lawmaking or judicial action beneficial to women as a sector and the engagement of other societal institutions on gender issues. Among the program’s significant contributions is the passage of landmark legislations: The Anti Sexual Harassment Act, and the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Safe Spaces Act, The Anti-Rape Law, The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act, The Reproductive Health Law, and the Magna Carta of Women Act.
SALIGAN supports and organizes discourses on the rights of Muslim women and hopes to help in building a Muslim community (ummah) that is more dynamic, tolerant, and just. SALIGAN also works on the popularization and critique of the Code on Muslim Personal Laws.
– Research and Publication
The publications released under the women’s program complements SALIGAN’s goal of bringing the law closer to advocates of women’s issues. We published researches on the assessment of the R.A. 9262, both in the courts and in the barangays. We published popular materials on R.A. 9262, R.A. 9208, the Family Code Primer and the Paralegal Manual on VAW. SALIGAN’s website also publishes digests of recent developments and Supreme Court decisions.
3. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
SALIGAN works with children and child-focused NGOs and networks for the full domestic adoption and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its accompanying documents.
We work for the right of children to participate local governance processes and to be consulted on all matters affecting them. SALIGAN is opposing proposals to lower the age of criminal responsibility, and is advocating for the passage of an act promoting positive discipline on children. We also handle cases of child abuse, child trafficking and child labor.
4. PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE
SALIGAN works with the basic and marginalized sectors for their meaningful engagement in all levels of governance. Primarily, SALIGAN directs its efforts and resources to increasing people’s participation in local governance. We conduct trainings on local legislation and policy formulation, the barangay justice system, and the national advocacy to democratizing local governance.
SALIGAN conducted training and policy sessions on the full implementation of the venues for people’s participation in local governance, barangay justice system, barangay mechanisms and strengthening their roles in addressing violence against women and children, and gender and child-responsive local legislation.
5. HOUSING RIGHTS
SALIGAN works for the realization of the right to decent and adequate housing of informal settlers. We collaborate with urban poor organizations, other NGOs, and concerned government agencies to ensure that the requirements for just and humane relocation are complied with.
We work for the amendments to the Urban Development and Housing Act, specifically to ensure that marginalized groups like women and children can participate in housing and resettlement plans, and that the “least displacement” principle should be applied. We work for the constitution of Local Housing Boards in all cities and municipalities with 50% civil society representation. SALIGAN capacitates POs and NGOs on knowledge and skills like negotiation and parliamentary procedures.
SALIGAN advocates for peaceful conflict resolution and other community-based disputes. We capacitate community members on ADR mechanisms.
SALIGAN recognizes the need for increased and meaningful participation of civil society and grassroots communities in the formal and informal peace processes. SALIGAN also works for policy changes that would recognize the use of local, indigenous conflict-resolution systems with he regional and national laws and structures.
SALIGAN works with CSOs seeking ways toward sustainable development. We file cases on violations affecting the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. We capacitate the basic sectors to enable them to protect the environment.
SALIGAN advocated for the issuance of the Rules of Procedure in Environmental Cases. As such, we handle environmental cases and continue to explore other remedies, both domestic and international, to make groups and certain businesses account for their unsound practices.
SALIGAN also conducts consultation sessions among the sectors as regards their overlapping rights to manage and utilize natural resources within their communities. Moreover, we also capacitate communities through paralegal trainings.
8. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
SALIGAN recognizes and supports the indigenous peoples’ struggle for their right to self-determination. As such, we work for the right to ancestral domain and the passage of the National Land Use Act to address conflicting legal provisions regarding ownership and use of land and other resources. SALIGAN also works for the recognition of tribal justice system and governance, and representation in local government units. We have published a material on IP’s local governance participation.
9. HUMAN RIGHTS
SALIGAN lawyers are human rights defenders. We work for the recognition, protection and fulfilment of UDHR, the UNCPR, the UNESCR, and accompanying documents and pronouncements. SALIGAN also opposes policy proposals and practices violative of these rights.
As such, we prosecute human rights violations against state agents. In many instances, abductions, extra-judicial killings, and indiscriminate attacks to civilians, are done with impunity. SALIGAN seeks to end the impunity and bring the perpetrators to justice.
SALIGAN promotes alternative lawyering and participates in the formation of law students. Through the internship program, we provide a breeding ground for future alternative lawyers. Aside from that, the program provides a different experience and venue for law students to use their talents and skills, an in so-doing, contributes to the empowerment of the marginalized sectors. By far, the interns find the program a venue where they draw meaning and inspiration to their academic learning.