In Giporlos, Eastern Samar, the Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) has reached out both the rich and the poor.
Lina Go, a 57-year-old municipal nurse of this town, availed a free copy of death certificate of her husband, Alfredo, who died of cancer in March 2013.
Go belongs to a well-to-do family in this town, where 44% of the population is suffering from poverty, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Their concrete two-storey building near the town hall stands out from nearby makeshift houses.
Go’s husband was a town councilor for 12 years. Before entering politics, he worked in a mining company operating in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.
“I don’t think I should miss this kind of opportunity, I guess the program was not just meant for the poor, it’s for everyone who experienced Yolanda” Lina said, referring to the super typhoon.
The death certificate will serve as a record of event of her husband’s death and one of the required civil documents for claiming her husband’s P30,000 burial benefits from the Social Security System (SSS).
“I’m very thankful to the non-government organization, the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), for supporting this town with free legal documents” Lina told IDEALS.
All of Lina’s children are now studying in famous schools based in Manila and Tacloban.
On the other hand, Manuela Facturanan, an old loving grandmother from a nearby village, said that the free civil documents will assure her grandchildren, Ma. Christine Facturanan, 11,and John Mark, 9, to finish basic education.
The 60-year-old grandmother heaved a sigh of relief when the birth certificates were personally delivered by the IDEALS team.
The two children, left under her care after their father died and their mother remarried, were not yet registered prior to MCRP implementation at the local civil registrar’s office, which makes Manuela very grateful for not spending even a centavo to accomplish process.
“The future of these young kids are also the future of this poor family,” the wrinkly grandmother recalled, “We’re not getting any younger.”
Christine was also worried that the absence of certificate of live birth would bar her from enrolling in secondary.
Manuela, together with her husband Jaime, 58, recalled that before the catastrophe, they only earned P600 monthly from coconut farming and labor. They also receive P2,100 monthly from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Last year’s super typhoon significantly reduced the family’s income, sometimes leaving them with no other option, but to eat rice with just soy sauce to enhance the taste of staple food. – Ma. Jane Cyres Caing, LNU Intern