Lawmaker Rizal chosen for US leadership program

By Billy Begas

The US State Department has selected Rizal Representative Fidel Nograles’ prison decongestion project for its International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Impact Awards initiative.

“It is an honor to be selected for the IVLP Impact Awards Initiative and to be able to advance a project for advocacy that is close to my heart,” said Nograles.

The IVLP Impact Awards initiative is led by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in partnership with Meridian International Center.

The US State Department has selected nearly 250 winners to help implement projects aimed at providing solutions to challenges in their home countries. Selected proposals could apply for up to US$5,000 in funding with project completion by January 31, 2023.

Nograles’ project aims to legally empower prison paralegals in the Philippines.

The project involves exposing 2,000 paralegals and prison lawyers across the country to capacity building strategies and legal workshops as part of the prison decongestion measure.

Nograles requests the publication of a legal manual containing relevant documentary resources on criminal law, procedure and administrative law for paralegals and prison lawyers.

A series of lectures will also be organized to improve the legal skills of paralegals and prison lawyers in the aspects of case documentation, data mining, evaluation and the provision of free legal assistance.

“While this project targets paralegals and prison lawyers, these efforts ultimately benefit poor and marginalized inmates so that their access to justice can be improved,” said Nograles, a Harvard-educated attorney.

Last year, Nograles signed an agreement with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to conduct a national training program for its paralegal staff.

The deal involves training more than 100 paralegals nationwide with the help of the Lakbay Hustisya, Inc. Foundation, founded by Nograles.

Kevin E. Boling