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Philippine Association of Court Interpreters, Inc.

NACI.the early beginnings.
The Convention of the Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) held in
Iloilo City saw the birth of the National Association of Court Interpreters (NACI). The
interpreters who attended that gathering organized themselves and Ms. Mila Octavio of
Bacolod City was elected its first president. Burning with zeal for the welfare of all
interpreters, this courageous lady worked for the passage of a bill in Congress to
upgrade the position and salary of interpreters. Unfortunately, her efforts have yet to
see its fruitful end.
In the mid-1990s, the PACE again held a convention in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Ms. Octavio, who was still PHILACI president, could not attend the said convention,
thus, an interim set of officers was elected, with Ms. Josefina Cayas of Misamis Oriental
as its president.
After that convention, minutes of the said meeting were sent out among
interpreters nationwide. In 1997, the NACI held another meeting in Bohol, the same
time the PACE held its convention. In that meeting, the participants discussed and
agreed to pass a resolution to request the Supreme Court, thru the Hon. Alfredo L.
Benipayo, then Court Administrator, to issue a circular for an exclusive convention for
court interpreters, considering that this is the association that has not held its own
assembly yet. Then Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa was furnished with a copy of the
said resolution. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not issue a circular. Its reply was
that the interpreters association has to be registered with the Department of Labor and
Employment and the Civil Service Commission, requirements for the grant of an
exclusive convention.
Armed with the dream of gathering all interpreters nationwide, Ms. Elizabeth
Bungalon of Gingoog City, who was interim secretary, sent out communication to all
interpreters and sought the help of Ms. Ellen delos Santos from Pasay City, one of the
members of the Board of Directors of the NACI whose station was very accessible to
the Supreme Court. Ms. Delos Santos willingly obliged.
Despite occasional upsetting and discouraging reaction, Ms. Bungalon and Ms.
Delos Santos continued sending out letters to interpreters nationwide. The negative
response did not dampen their spirits.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Interpreters Association (MRTCIA), organized
and duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1998, likewise
imbued with the ardent dream to see a nationwide association of court interpreters
come into being, rallied the interpreters of the NCJR and Bulacan province. With a
vision of using the NCJR as a stepping stone to the formation of a national association,
teams composed of officers and members of the MRTCIA visited the different stations in
the NCJR on December 29, 1999, and thru a very letter of its president, encouraged the
interpreters to organize their local units.
After a couple of months, another letter was sent out, calling for a meeting of the
elected officers and representative of NCJR, and, on April 6, 2000, the first NCJR
meeting took place as the RTC Manila Library, City Hall, Manila, hosted by the
MRTCIA. Representatives from Bulacan province, who earlier learned of the meeting,
likewise graced the occasion. In this meeting. Ms. Ellen delos Santos who was then

hardly known to the Manila interpreters, bared all that she and Ms. Bungalon had been
doing all along. From then on, a series of meetings ensued, and in one of those
gatherings, the group voted upon the magic name, the PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF
Thus, led by the Almighty, whose guidance the group constantly invoked, the
concerted efforts of Ms. Delos Santos and her predecessors, alongside the courageous
NCJR and Bulacan organizers, gave birth to the PhilACI.
Be that as it may, the problems confronting the group still lingered. However,
unfazed by the challenge of forming a nationwide association under the strict
requirements being imposed by the Supreme Court, these few but determined
organizers decided to seek an audience with the Court Administrator. Thus, on July 26,
2000, seventeen (17) of these interpreters from the NCJR and Bulacan trooped to the
office of Atty. Antonio H. Dujua, Asst. Court Adminstrator, who cordially welcomed them.
The meeting was brief but very encouraging. The group was advised to request the
Court Administrator to hold the first national assembly of interpreters where they can
elect their officers and ratify their Constitution and By-Laws. Everyone felt assured of a
positive response as the very sympathetic Atty. Dujua himself suggested that the group
stay and continue the meeting among themselves. Bubbling with optimism and
enthusiasm, right then and there, they organized the working committees with Ms.
Delos Santos as over-all chairman. At last, the light at the end of the tunnel was coming
to view! Finally, on August 9, 2000, the Supreme Court, thru the Office of the Court
Administrator, issuded Circular No. 43-2000, authorizing the holding of the first national
assembly of interpreters.
The baby that is PHILACI was, nevertheless, met with a lot of problems. First,
there was no logistics to start with. In order to defray the initial expense of organizing
the assembly, a membership of Php100.00 was collected from the NCJR and Bulacan
interpreters but the collected amount was not enough. The handful of interpreters who
went up to Baguio to scout for a venue had to dig into their own pockets to provide the
needed down payment and other related expenses. Thru it all, these hardworking men
and women were able to put in place the requisites of the First National Assembly of
the Philippine Association of Court Interpreters in Baguio City on December 7 to 9,
Teachers Camp in Baguio City was witness to this first gathering. As early as
December 4, some of the work force had gone up to Baguio to continue the work which
was started in the NCJR. Baguios cold climate even boosted their spirits. Imagine,
working until the wee hours of the morning, preparing materials, brainstorming and
running errands. Delegates started arriving in the early morning of the 6 th. The response
was overwhelming! It was unexpected that we would gather as many as 562
participants to this assembly on short notice. Some people came as far as Sulu to be
part of this momentous affair.
Birth pains were experienced, of course. Without these pains, we wouldnt realize
how important this Association is to all. Registration was a big mess! Booking the
delegates became a pronlem. Fortunately enough, we came through, and, along with
the encouraging support from the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA), this gathering
turned out to be a great success!
The Association elected its first set of officers on December 8. Ms. Ellen delos
Santos was unanimously elected as the first president of the PHILACI. Regional
Representatives were also elected and the Constitution and By-Laws was ratified. The
first convention had not ended yet but most were eager already of the next. So, its
Hello, Davao for the 2nd National Convention come August 2002.

The PhilJA commended this Association for a job very well done. But, besides
the formality there is behind the PHILACI, it is the camaraderie that was established
amongst its members that proved its worth.
Under the shining leadership of Ms. Delos Santos and the untiring support of
other officers, the PHILACI was registered with the SEC and BIR. The elected officers
constituting the Executive Board and the Board of Regional Representatives convened
four (4) times, during which, significant resolutions were successfully passed,
establishing the basic foundations of the Association and seeking to improve the lot of
each and every interpreter nationwide.
In the beginning.it was a DREAM!
Propelled.into ACTION.
Now a reality.the PHILACI!
Our profound gratitude to the ALMIGHTY who imbued the DREAM, etched the
VISION, moved hands and feet and ultimately created the PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION
To Him alone be the glory!

This PHILACI history was prepared by Bernardita S. Arano of RTC 4 Manila (one
of the incorporators of the Association) and saw its first print in the souvenir program for
the 2nd National Convention in Davao City.
From the Grand Menseng Hotel in Davao in 2002 for the 2 nd National
Convention, we travelled bck to the NCJR, at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City in
2004, for our 3rd convention. The enthusiasm continues to live on..
For our 4th in 2006, we were lured by the beauty of Mayon Volcano. Naga
Regent Hotel was witness to that enthusiasm that continues to grow through the
From the Bicol Region, we flew to the home of the Chocolate Hills and the tarsier
in 2008 for our 5th. Bohol Tropics hotel proved to be a relaxing venue. The bonding
was even more strengthened.
We turn 10 in 2010! The PHILACI invades Baguio City once again.

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