More than 5,000 storm survivors and counting have been benefiting legal services designed to widen access to benefits in the aftermath of last year’s climatic crisis, a crucial measure in recovery efforts of affected communities.
From lost identification documents to labor row issues, the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc (IDEALS, Inc.) has opened its doors to extend helping hands to clients from all walks of life.
“When IDEALS was founded a decade ago, we would never have anticipated that a moment in time comes that we have to respond to one of the most pressing concerns generated by the strongest typhoon in the world ever recorded to make landfall,” said IDEALS Executive Director Egad Ligon.
The non government organization pushed for the implementation of Access to Benefits and Claims after Disaster (ABCD) project in badly hit areas to help survivors access government services that require legal identification.
Since late last year, among the legal assistance provided by IDEALS drafting of Affidavit of Loss for government-issued identification cards, bank cards, academic records, and insurance plans; Affidavit of Surviving Spouse, Deed of Land Ownership, Document Establishing Land Tenure, Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons.
“You can imagine the endless, voluminous, and complicated services demanded from our field legal team of 20 lawyers and paralegals,” Ligon said.
Today, the IDEALS office in Palo, Leyte has been flocked with clients daily. Those who have no opportunity to consult lawyers due to geographical and social constraints, the organization reach out to them through weekly legal missions.
“The live call-in radio program, Under Repair, another component of the ABCD project, processes legal queries, provides legal consultation on air and tackles burning issues, related to legal claims and human rights after disasters,” Ligon added.
The radio program, launched in January is being aired thrice weekly in DYVL Aksyon Radyo of the Manila Broadcasting Company, the only AM radio station operating in Tacloban City after Yolanda.