For the past 20 years, HLAF’s advocacies have progressively grown to the wider needs in promoting the better quality of access to justice to the least, especially in promoting their rights, welfare, and well-being.

HLAF, as a developmental legal organization has sought to promote policies and laws which would promote justice and which would tilt the balance of justice to those who are marginalized. 

HLAF has also pursued to work for the passage of laws and changes in the system that will respect, protect the right of persons in detention especially of women and children

HLAF Timeline

December 10, 2000
HLAF Founded

After learning that  there are innocent persons deprived of liberty who are languishing in jail for long periods of time because of the slow court proceedings, our beloved Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui summoned Atty. Perfecto Caparas, Atty. Daniel Gorgonia and Atty. Carolyn Mercado to form a group to provide assistance to the PDLs who are wrongfully accused. He challenged them, "How would you like to live a life for others?" 

Just like that, the Freedom Foundation was born.

February 8, 2001
HLAF was registered with SEC

Two months after its founding, the foundation was officially registered as the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. Its SEC Registration number is A200202033. Its founding President is GMCKS and its founding Executive Director is Atty. Perfecto Caparas II.

Summer, 2004
HLAF welcomed its first law student interns

Under the tutelage of Atty. Ma. Victoria V. Cardona, then Executive Director, HLAF welcomed its first law student interns. They are all lawyers now.

July 2005
MANAVA Jail Decongestion Project

With the support from The Asia Foundation and USAID, HLAF first conceptualized the strategies for decongesting jails in this project. The strategy was to organize paralegal coordinators (now referred to as paralegal aides) in each jail and training them on basic criminal law, criminal procedure, rights of the accused and modes of releases in order for them to assist and facilitate the release of their fellow PDLs. It was during this project that HLAF started to focus on capacitating PDL paralegal volunteers rather than on direct legal services.

December 2005
Detainee's Notebook (v. 1) printed and distributed

With the support from The Asia Foundation and USAID, HLAF through the help of Mr. Raymund Narag designed a notebook which will serve as the personal “case” diary of every PDL where necessary information regarding their personal and case profiles are recorded.

Through the years, the detainee's notebook will go through different versions until institutionalized by the Supreme Court in 2014

April 28, 2006
RA 9344 was enacted

HLAF was a member of the Juvenile Justice Network which actively lobbied for the passage of the trailblazing law for children in conflict with the law - the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

Right after the passage of the law, HLAF took on the challenge of popularizing the law. HLAF was invited all around the country to explain the features of the new law.

September 2010
Center for Restorative Action was established

Four years after the enactment of the JJWA, HLAF observed that LGUs and duty-bearers still find it hard to properly implement the law. In June 2010, Atty. Rommel Alim Abitria, Ms. Ma. Victoria Diaz, Mr. Martin Perfecto, Ms. Melanie Ramos-Llana and Master Daphne Bigcas conceptualized a training institute under HLAF which will address the lack of knowledge and skill in implementing JJWA. The goal was to capacitate LGUs and communities within a period of one year to peroperly implement RA 9344. In September of 2010, CRA was officially established when HLAF initiated its search for CRA staff.

In January of 2011, HLAF started training beneficiaries from Barangays Bagbag, Batasan Hills, Commonwealth, Pansol and Payatas in Quezon City as its pilot barangays.

January 2014
Focused Reintegration of Ex Detainees

After years of prodding from Kuya Fred Alaras, its eponymous advocate,  HLAF finally decided to pilot the FRED Program in Pasig. Its goal is to assist former PDLs to be reintegrated back into the community and into their families.

June 2015
HLAF offered Clinical Legal Education Elective at the Ateneo Law School

In partnership with the Ateneo Law Alumni Association, Inc., HLAF offered a Clinical Legal Education Elective with Externship Program. The subject provides students with theoretical foundations on the rights of the accused and the workings of the criminal justice system. The class also provided an opportunity for students to get hand-on experience on alternative lawyering by joing HLAF activities in jails.

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