TACLOBAN CITY – Anita Salidaga was smiling as she lined up inside the dome, to process her application for late registration.
Salidaga’s civil registration must be very late. She’s 60, raised three children and five grandchildren. Her husband died nearly two decades ago.
She’s not a resident of a remote town in Samar, but a native of Suhi village in Tacloban, a highly urbanized city, the regional center, and accessible to almost all government services.
The old lady believed that lack of civil registration records deprived her from benefitting core services from the government and various organizations just like basic education, getting legally married, and landing a promising job.
Sadly, the old lady was not seeking a birth certificate to enter a school or land a job. Her family needs the document to claim benefit if she was to pass away.
“I never realized that I need a birth certificate until that lady came to our house and inform us the value of recording vital events,” said Salidaga, gesturing to a community organizer deployed by the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS).
IDEALS is a non government organization leading the implementation of a mobile civil registration project in 20 towns and cities pounded by super typhoon Yolanda late last year.
Apparently, Salidaga was not worried about her situation because she’s not alone. Hundreds of residents in their village flocked to the Tacloban Convention Center during the recent registration activity held at the sidelines of Community Days event.
A few seats away from her was 44-year-old widow Rogelio Capuyan, who was clueless of the process of late civil registration. After attending an IDEALS-led awareness drive, Capuyan started securing basic requirements – affidavits, barangay certification, voter’s registration, and baptismal record.
All her previous identification records were blown away by strong winds when Yolanda struck November of last year.
Capuyan’s wife died more than a decade ago, leaving three children under his care. They survived from a measly P200 daily wage. His job is irregular, depending on the demand.
The absence of a birth certificate disallowed him to legally marry his wife, one of his biggest regret in life.
“After my wife died, I completely lost my interest to process my civil registration until these community workers encouraged me to construct vital records,” he recalled.
Since they already completed all requirements, both Saligada are now waiting for the release of their certificate of live birth printed in security papers.
IDEALS, primarily supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, pushed for MCRP believing that the loss of identification documents has adverse impacts to the ability of family-victims and survivors to access benefits and legal claims that they are entitled to obtain after Yolanda. PHOTO CAPTION: Anita Salidaga, 60, of Tacloban’s Suhi village lines up to process her late registration of birth in a recent activity at Tacloban Convention Center.