Which Social Justice? Situating the Philippine Legal Concept of Social Justice Within Just Transition Research Collaborative’s Analytical Framework

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Antonio G.M. La Viña
Jayvy R. Gamboa


Social justice is often cited in literature as an essential component or an ideal end of just transition, but there remains a gap on what social justice itself entails, thus leading to confusion about what just transition truly requires. Viewed from the Philippine experience, this paper faces the broad yet fundamental question: How is the conceptualization—and subsequent operationalization—of just transition affected by differing notions of social justice? Using the Just Transition Research Collaborative’s analytical framework of framing just transition (2018) as a reference, the concept of “social justice” in the Philippine legal system is used as a proxy to determine the variety of viable just transition framings in the country. After mapping the classical and humanistic notions of social justice in what Monsod (2014) described as jurisprudential tension in Philippine law, this study finds that the divergent meanings of social justice, which is usually thought to be an uncontested concept, correspond to a wide disparity of just transition framings, and consequently the policy interventions that await in the grassroots. Besides inviting a deeper analysis of foundational concepts related to just transition, such as social justice, this novel study also signals to the global community that there is indeed a widely available and untapped space for collaboration.

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