IMG 1058Rebecca Apolinar’s worried face became delighted upon receiving a copy of her birth certificate, a basic requirement for the processing of her late brother’s burial claim from the Social Security System (SSS).

On April 10 this year, Rebecca’s older brother Roberto Apolinar, 61, died of pneumonia after months of suffering.

The untimely demise caused a financial burden to Rebecca, 59, the only family member left in San Juan village of Palompon in Leyte. As a poor family, the burial of her brother was a big problem.

The family’s house near the coast was crumbled to the ground by super typhoon Yolanda. They built a makeshift house out of salvaged tin, woods, and tarp. The hot temperature has worsened Roberto’s illness.

To bury his brother, Rebecca resorted to borrowing from her friends. The other siblings based in Manila stopped supporting financially, leaving her alone to solve the financial hitch caused by hospitalization and burial expenses.

“I only earn P100 a day. No wonder that for almost four months I still couldn’t pay my debts. I’m worried because they are now asking for the payments, but still I don’t have money to pay them,” she shared.

The SSS burial benefits of Rebecca’s brother, which amounted to P20,000 is the only money that Rebecca expects to get to pay off debts.

The teary eyed Rebecca expressed gratitude to the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment trough Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), through Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) for the free copy of her birth certificate.

“I’m really thankful to IDEALS because now I can receive the benefit since I already have my live-birth which is one of the requirements asked from me by the SSS.”

The MCRP also paved the way for Rebecca’s civil registration, which her parents failed to do when she was a child due to extreme poverty. – Myla Ann Jomadiao, LNU Intern

Palompon woman gains access to brother’s burial benefits

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