The Lasallian Justice and peace Commission (LJPC) is composed of the network of Social Action Offices present in the sixteen (16) Lasallian schools in the Philippines. It was established to enhance and harmonize the different programs and engagements of the Lasallian schools along the goals of social transformation, social justice, peace and integrity of creation. LJPC trace it roots in 1991 when the District Justice and Peace Desk was created with the objective of activating the network of La Salle schools at that time, so that collectively they can respond to urgent issues facing the country and they can forge a united stand on these urgent issues. Through the years LJPC has involved in different national issues and advocacies.
Among the notable periods when LJPC was successful in forging common Lasallian on national issues is in 2001 when through efforts of Br. Mawel Pajarillo FSC LJPC mobilized the Lasallian family to stand against corruption and bad governance of then President Joseph Estrada. Second was during the 2004 elections the LJPC and the Social Action Offices engaged in massive voters’ education programs. Not long after that, the LJPC will see itself again leading the Lasallian community in a fighting for democracy, transparency and accountability during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. From 2005 – 2010 the LJPC released four (4) public statements: 1) Restoring Faith in our Democracy (July 2005) asking then president GMA to step down because she lost all her moral grounding after the expose of Hello Garci scandal; 2) Let us Start the Change We want To See (December 2007); 3) Statement on the Maguindanao Massacre (November 2009); and 4) Restore Faith in the Electoral Process (April 2010).
In 2013 after the expose on the abuse and misuse of the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) or simply pork barrel by the congressmen and senators, the LJPC once again rallied the Lasallian community and joined the One Million People March at the Luneta. It also issued a public statement on the issue calling for more Transparency and Accountability from the legislators and from the executive branch of government. Last year LJPC also came-up with four modules on PDAF and budget process which the teachers in our schools can use in raising awareness of Lasallians on the issue.
At the present juncture the country is in the midst of public discussions on peace in Mindanao, particularly on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. So far LJPC had sponsored two symposia on this and also came-up with a public statement after the Mamasapano Incident in January 25, 2015. With the presidential election next year LJPC will be gearing up and together with the Social action office will spearhead the efforts of the Lasallian community in contributing to a credible, honest and transparent election. In this way the advocacy towards good governance and accountability will be sustained.
In order to sharpen and provide a focus on the involvements of LJPC, in 2012 the Network had identified priority advocacies or themes. These are good governance and peace, poverty alleviation, youth at risk and environment focusing on disaster risk reduction management (DRRM). For DRRM, LJPC is tasked with response to external communities that were affected by disasters (outside Lasalle) while a network organized by LIFE will take of DRRM internal to Lasallian schools. Most recent LJPC project on DRRM is the One La Salle Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery Project (OLSYRRP) which is being implemented until May 2016 in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Tacloban City and Dulag, Leyte. Under OLSYRRP DLSP donated 11 new classrooms to three public elementary schools. It will also rehabilitate 4 partially damaged classrooms. OLSYRRP adopted a community development approach thus aside from the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms interventions are also being made on education, livelihood, health and wellness, youth formation, governance, DRRM, and environment.
For this school year 2015 - 2016, the two major advocacy issues would be on peace in Mindanao and the upcoming elections. Towards this a three-series teaching module on Mindanao and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be developed for use of the teachers. Another forum will be organized which shall hopefully define the stand of the Lasallian community on the BBL after learning much about the issue.
Related to the 2016 national elections, LJPC will initiate two three activities. First is again production of voter education modules for use in our schools and with partner communities of Social Action Offices. Second is encouraging college students who are first-time voters to register with the Commission on Elections and to exercise their right properly. Third is mobilizing Lasallian government and business leaders towards crafting a Governance Agenda which they shall pursue once they get elected/ appointed in public office. The idea here is to help Lasallian alumni who serve in national government positions and business leaders to be armed with common Governance Agenda which they shall help pass (in terms of laws/policies) if they are government and for the business leaders they can help advocate in their business associations to support. This is borne out of the need for Lasallian alumni who are now national leaders in government and the private sector to assist in more clear and definite policies and directions towards national development.
On the other LJPC advocacy themes, LJPC in coordination with LIFE will develop more DRRM experts in our schools so we will have ready resource persons as well as volunteers in times of disasters. Fortunately at present there is a seeming heightened awareness of the public on disaster preparedness- an important element to survive the challenges of climate change and the fear on the Big One (earthquake on the Valley fault) that can hit Metro Manila.
Starting in 2014 the LJPC was also tasked to manage the Return To Vaugirard (RTV) program. RTV is a one-week live in formation of teachers, staff and formators who have strong commitment in the mission. Initiated nineteen years ago, the RTV started with the goal of creating new breed of committed Lasallians who can be “diffusers and “multipliers” in the mission of serving the youth at risk. The theme emphasizes the importance of conversation, conversion, convergence as a pathway to building a peace.
For this school year, RTV will be having its 20th batch. It is hoped that the increasing number of its alumni will broaden the number of LJPC advocates who are committed to the mission.