For 55-year-old Lourdes Escobido, free replacement of civil documents means more budget to buy two of the poor man’s basic food to survive – rice and salt.
When super typhoon Yolanda (international Name: Haiyan) struck Leyte on November 8 last year, it did not just demolish her family’s house, but also swept away their civil registration documents, a basic education prerequisite of their four secondary-aged sons.
“I was really worried when Yolanda’s monster wind took away those documents since we have no money to process the replacement of those papers. I’m happy, we got it for free. That means our money for food was untouched,” the gray-haired Escobido recalled, gesturing to her old and torn purse.
Escobido’s children are just one of the thousands of beneficiaries of Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) carried out by the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), Inc.
Her husband for three decades, Eulogio, 59, was a tuba (local wine extracted from coconut trees) gatherer before the catastrophe, but almost all coconut trees in their farm were either sheared or uprooted by Yolanda’s fierce winds, robbing their meager source of living.
Eulogio was left with no choice but to engage in less lucrative job of driving a pedicab and laborious rice cultivation. The Escobido couple are just one of the nearly six million Filipinos in central Philippines whose livelihood were shattered by the typhoon.
The family’s monthly income was cut by half to P3, 000 a month, not enough to meet the basic daily needs of a family of six, settling in a farming community accessible from the village center through a 30-minute hike.
It’s been more than eight months since the super typhoon, but Escobido’s house is far from livable. It’s only made of bamboos, banana leaves, and lame twigs. It’s roofing is a combination of old tarpaulin, plastics coconut leaves.
“Heavy rains bothers our sleep. It does not only remind us of the horror, but it makes our blankets and clothes dripping wet,” the wrinkly woman recalled, saddened by discomfort, but cheered by sounds of chirping birds.- Jeffrey Consultado, LNU Intern