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National Justice Information System to interconnect Philippine justice sector systems

Philippines National Justice Information System
Photo: [Credit: Department of Information and Communications Technology

The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that formalises the Department’s commitment to collaborate with different agencies in the country’s justice sector.

According to a recent press release, this will pave the way for the development and implementation of the National Justice Information System (NJIS).

About the Initiative

The NJIS is an ICT platform that will address fragmentation in the justice system by developing information management systems and inter-agency exchange mechanisms.

The intention is to connect all NJIS implementing agencies to each other in order to facilitate seamless, secure and authenticated information exchange as well as other tasks that require digital connectivity.

Having a real-time information exchange across justice agencies, through the DICT, is very ideal and ground-breaking. It may be considered the first of its kind in the country.

Under the NJIS, data and information on Philippine laws, as well as cases that involve Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), among others, will be digitised and uploaded to a centralised database.

This will then be shared throughout the relevant offices in the government. A plethora of people, among others, will be given access to the data and information. These are the following:

  1. Prosecutors
  2. Public defenders
  3. Judges
  4. Law enforcement officers
  5. Immigration officers
  6. Parole and probation officers
  7. Social workers

The aim is not merely the collation of data and their placement online as the job does not simply entail collecting information on cases and about those involved in them.

The job, in fact, is to make sure that correct information and data promptly reach those who administer the criminal justice system so that they may make use of this towards the dispensation of justice.

Who are Involved?

The implementing agencies of the National Justice Information System include:

  1. The Department of Justice (DOJ)
  2. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
  3. The Philippine National Police (PNP)
  4. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
  5. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
  6. The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB)
  7. The Bureau of Immigration (BI)
  8. The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)
  9. The Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR)
  10. The Parole and Probation Administration (PPA)

Moreover, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Single Carpeta System, which is a component of the NJIS that is aimed at unifying jail records, was also signed by the following Departments:

  1. The Department of Justice (DOJ)
  2. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
  3. The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)
  4. The Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR)
  5. The Parole and Probation Administration (PPA)

ICT for the Justice System

A Southeast Asian neighbour has also utilised ICT for its justice system, as reported by OpenGov Asia previously.

The Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice stated that good governance has a direct impact on law and order.

It requires a climate of respect for the rule of law, the existence of checks and balances, transparency and accountability.

A reform of the justice system in this sense asks for measures to ensure efficient and transparent procedures are performed in line with ethical standards.

He noted that Open Data is a key part of this reform as it encourages citizens’ active participation, by allowing them to look into government data and oversight its procedures.

In Thailand, Open Data and AI are being used in several sectors. For example, in an AI-powered customer support platform analyses data through AI. The data is then made public and people can help monitor real-time incidents, share information and offer suggestions to the government.

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