For a head of a family like Pascual Eduarte, 48, who struggles each day to make ends meet, the Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) is a big blessing after giant waves swept away all their legal documents during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).
Eduarte, together with his six children and wife, Milda, 44 once lived in a big semi concrete house in a sleepy coastal village of Batang in Hernani, a hardly-hit town in Eastern Samar facing the Pacific.
Though life became harder after the typhoon, Eduarte managed to support his family through fishing and coconut farming. Augmenting their scanty income is their small neighbourhood retail shop, created out of Milda’s small earning from a two-day cash for work pay.
“The waves washed out all of our properties including our papers which leaves us nothing but our clothes worn that day,” he recalled.
Eduarte’s family is just one of the thousands of beneficiaries of Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services’ (IDEALS) MCRP, which aims to give free copies of birth certificate, marriage contract, death certificate and other legal documents for typhoon survivors.
Since birth certificate is an important document to establish their identity as Filipinos, Eduarte immediately grabbed the opportunity to avail free replacement of record for his family, including securing a copy of their marriage contract.
“I am really willing to have our legal papers because it is important and required especially for my children when they hunt for job,” Eduarte told IDEALS.
Likewise, he thanked the team of community workers for extending legal assistance and help restore their legal identities for free.
IDEALS, in partnership with the National Statistics Office is working to replace all the files of Local Civil Registrar’s Office destroyed during the super typhoon.
Nearly nine months after the catastrophe, Eduarte and his family lives in a tiny house made up of combination of scattered debris and donated materials from non-government organizations. The brush of white paint matches their hopeful spirit for a brighter tomorrow, fuelled by aids from different. people. – Carlene M. Morantte, LNU Intern