The certificate of live birth was a passport for Adelaida Bantilan’s grandson, Jimmy, 22 to work in Saudi Arabia, an opportunity that would lift the family out of disaster-induced poverty.
Adelaida, 68, a mother of 11, still believes that a bright future awaits their family despite of the traumatic experience that flattened their community in Banahao village, five kilometers away from the town center of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
After November 8, the family has been living in a makeshift house together with her husband Dionisio, 82, and their granddaughter, Jennylyn, 20.
Before the storm struck central Philippine, Adelaida and her hearing impaired husband, Dionisio, earned from coconut production from their one hectare land with one hundred coconut trees thriving.
At present, their livelihood have been shattered. The other alternative source of income – fish vending, eventually has to end due to financial constraints.
This situation prompted Jimmy, Adelaida’s youngest son to work abroad on May 2014. He once lived with his mother until he decided that he would work abroad so he could support and alleviate his family out of poverty.
“After the calamity, my son has decided to work outside of the country because he was so worried. We don’t have any food to eat, even the source of our living was totally gone, our coconut trees were all destroyed,” the wrinkly mother recalled.
Months after the devastation of typhoon Yolanda, getting legal papers was impossible and was one of the obstacles Jimmy has to face. Civil documents like birth certificate are one of the requirements for overseas jobs.
Jimmie is just of the nearly 100,000 beneficiaries of the Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) that offers free civil registration and replacement ofdestroyed civil documents.
The Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) launched the MCRP on April this year.
“If it wasn’t for the free access to civil documentation, my son would not be able to provide the requirements asked from him, I’m very thankful for the opportunity they have given to my son” Adelaida told IDEALS.
Jimmy is now an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), regularly sending financial support to his wife, Angel, 22, also his town mate. He earned his two-year technical education from the Maryland Global, a government accredited college school. – Ma. Jane Cyres Caing, LNU Intern