The Philippines’ Special Envoy to the Republic of South Korea for Digital Transformation made several recommendations to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for the digitalization and modernization of the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) after leading a mission to South Korea early this month.
In a memorandum to President Marcos dated November 13, Dennis Anthony Uy, the country’s special envoy to South Korea, said that while the grant from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will be helpful in kick-starting the digital projects, it will not be enough to fully fund all operations including maintenance of the systems after project completion.
“Hence, additional funding may be required from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) for the government-to-government projects. Assistance from the Department of Finance is thus requested to commence discussions with the counterparts in Korea,” Uy said in his memorandum to the President.
KOICA expressed interest in funding the conduct of studies and formulation of an IT Road Map for the Philippine Judiciary. It reported that this year, the group provided US$18.7 million for various Philippine projects.
For digital projects, a clear five-year roadmap must be identified, Uy said, pointing out that the Korean e-justice system effectively took decades to refine and develop.
The special envoy also recommended the hiring of a consulting firm to clearly define the requirement of the modernization of the Philippine Supreme Court. Uy stressed the need to clearly understand South Korea’s judicial system and find similarities that may be adopted to the Philippine court system.
“Learning from the Vietnam case study, after completion of the project there should be a minimum of three years of maintenance and consultation to follow in order to ensure the projects are sustainable for the long-term,” he said.
South Korea is also aiding Vietnam carry out e-Court project composed of three phases: Training, establishment of fundamental infrastructure, and three-year maintenance and consulting.
On November 5 to 9, 2023, Uy and his party traveled to Seoul to meet with South Korea’s Supreme Court and Presidential Adviser on Judicial Affairs and other related government agencies to get their support in the modernization program of the Philippine Supreme Court.
Among the mission’s itinerary include visit to the ROK Supreme Court and its IT Center, briefing on ROK, e-Litigation System, familiarization tour of the Seoul Central District Court, and meeting with KOICA officials and with the National Information Society Agency (NIA).
Also during the mission, Uy presented to South Korea’s justice officials President Marcos’ October 23 letter to President Yoon Suk Yeol.
Uy, for his part, was able to secure the commitment of President Yoon to support the Philippine Judiciary’s Modernization Program funding requirements through KOICA and ODA.
The ROK SC began the development of its Judicial IT System as early as 1979, commencing its e-Court System in 1998 and completing it in 2019.
Since then, several modifications were made to upgrade its system to allow trials though video conferences and achieve 100 percent paperless operations and effectively using it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea’s justice officials expressed willingness to support the Philippine judiciary modernization program by sharing their technology and experience on best practices through a Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP). PND