Restoring their legal identity is the biggest gift that couple Jose and Victoria Menguin have received after super typhoon Yolanda shattered their lives.
The Menguins, a native of Cansumangkay village in Balangiga, Eastern Samar was relieved for the free copies of their certificate of live births, one of the family’s vital documents blown away by the super typhoon’s fierce winds.
Victoria, 58 and Jose, 55 considered themselves as one of the very fortunate residents in this town after receiving copies of vital records.
“To receive such help means a lot to us because we’re able to save some money to buy basic needs,” said Victoria, who earns meager income from being a village utility aide.
The couple and their son, Benjie, 18 are just three of the 100,000 beneficiaries of the Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) led by the the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc, (IDEALS).
Benjie, whose age qualifies him to sign up for junior in college is still finishing the seventh grade as his parents struggles to make ends meet.
Adding up the burden is Victoria’s goiter-like cyst in her neck while her husband was diagnosed with acute urinary tract infection (UTI).
Their house stands like a tiny mushroom in a farming community. The roof is made up of worn out tarpaulins and palm leaves. Rainy days turns their earthen floors messy and slippery.
“Actually, we only eat twice a day with root crops and salted fish on our table. Breakfast is not a necessary,” the old woman shared.
However, their live births are essential as requirements to acquire land titles and gain education.
Victoria inherited a coconut farm from her parents located in Can-albaya village, a three-hour hike from their house.
The November 8, 2013 typhoon sheared and uprooted the 200 coconut trees of their two hectares land, reducing the family’s income from P3,000 to P1,000 per month, not enough to meet the family’s daily needs.
This situation triggers Jose to join the cash-for-work program of the village for only P150 per day despite of his poor health condition. Victoria also forces herself to work, unmindful of pain.
“Of course we need to work hard so that we can feed our hungry stomachs. Our health problems won’t stop us to work because no one will provide our daily needs but ourselves,” the persevered man said. – Jeffrey Consultado and Kathryn Orbigozo, LNU Interns