By J. Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores
A Green Courthouse today is something new, but overdue. And that is what
CA-Mindanao dreams of. A bit ambitious? No. Rather, it means harmonizing with nature.
CA-Mindanao, with the help of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,
has acquired a six-hectare lot out of public domain in Indahag, Cagayan de Oro. Indahag is in the
direction of development in the city and is only fifteen to twenty minute-drive from city proper. The
six-hectare lot sits on a mini-plateau and a two or three-storey courthouse thereon will give anyone a
commanding view of the meandering Cagayan de Oro River and nearby villages.
But why six hectares when a courthouse may be built on an area much less? Again,
ambition has nothing to do with it. Rather, environmental strategy has dictated it. The excess of what
will be the area for the courthouse will be devoted to grow a mini rain forest.
This Green Courthouse will harness sunlight for interior's illumination, tap wind and
wind directions for inexpensive ventilation, use solar panels to convert sun's energy to electricity and
impound rain water from gutters and downspouts for recycling, such as comfort room use and for
irrigation of surrounding vegetation. As environmentalists love to coax us all in this era of global
warming, this is the time for mitigation and adaptation. And so must the Court of Appeals.
But it has also something to do with economics.
Being without a home today, the Court of Appeals-Mindanao rents the YMCA Building
in Julio Pacana St., Cagayan de Oro for a sum that is not measly. The People pays P204,000.00 every
month during its five-year lease contract that will end in 2009. The Green Courthouse will provide
CA-Mindanao a permanent home and dispense with this huge lease expense.
Harnessing wind and wind directions for ventilation will drastically reduce its power
bills. More so when sunlit interiors will do away with the need of fluorescent lamps and bulbs. Today,
CA-Mindanao spends on a monthly average expense of One hundred-twenty thousand five hundred
thirty-three and 25/100 pesos (P120,533.25) for power bills. And with run-away fuel price increases,
there's no way to predict until where will the power bills rise.
Rainwater impounding is an age-old strategy in areas where water supply is
unreliable. While Mindanao has only shown micro signs of water sources' dissipation, CA-Mindanao
would like to show that it is a crisis that can be averted by addressing the problem now.
Not to be missed is a state-of-the-art learning hall. Because Mindanao does not
have institutions like the U.P. Law Center, the Philippine Judicial Institute and the Philippine Judicial
Academy, which Manila has, CA-Mindanao has put in place a policy of continuing education for
justices, lawyers, executive assistants and rank and file. Regular lectures on subjects relevant to
judicial tasks and daily living are held thru the initiatives of the Executive Justice and the Associate
Justices. CA-Mindanao believes that while global warming is already upon us, we do not see adult
education on a massive scale to educate the masses on the why's of global warming and the
wherefores to mitigate and adapt to it. The state-of-the-art learning hall can be a regular venue for
such community education efforts.
The mini rain forest will be the Green Courthouse's crowning glory. It will provide
lush green scenery, cool surroundings and abiding serenity. Some trees in it with aromatic leaves
and flowers will allow the breeze to waft scented air everyday in all seasons. Air cons can go and so
with artificial fresheners. On the sides, the mini rain forest will contribute to carbon sequestration as
it multiplies oxygen production to make mother earth healthy and livable.
With the blessings of the Supreme Court and its Committee on Halls of Justice and
the full support of the Court of Appeals, ground-breaking for the Green Courthouse will not be far off.