IMG 0946Retired public school teacher Cecilio Urmeneto, 74, considers the replacement of his washed-out documents as a key to avail benefits from the government, which he might need any time.

Cecilio, a widower, and a father of two, is one of the thousands of beneficiaries of the Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP) of San Antonio, a coastal village in Basey, Samar.

Facing the Pacific, San Antonio, was unfortunately one of the badly hit places during the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), a climatic crisis that that robbed all his possessions, including his wife.

“All of my documents were washed-out. All the things I’ve worked for 30 years was gone in less than an hour, including my partner,” the tormented old man said gesturing to an old photo of his wife.

A government retiree since 2003, he considers civil registry documents as a basic need to access government assistance. Upon hearing the project of Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), he immediately applied for it.

“Nobody encouraged me to apply for it but as long as there is an opportunity where I’d be given an assistance, I always go for it.”

The IDEALS MCRP project aims to give legal assistance to people giving them free replacement on their lost birth certificate, marriage contract, death certificate and other legal documents swept away during last year’s destructive super typhoon.

Cecilio thanked IDEALS for the free replacement of documents, as a way of easing the worries of victims.

“For me, it is one of my essential needs, I hope it will still continue to the point where they could assist every people who needs their help,” he suggested.

Moreover, he explained how vital these papers to the people are not only to avail government assistance, but to provide personal information as well.

“This is really a big help to the people because documents are linked to our lives because as long as you have a document, it is not hard to give valid information. And because of this program, all the documents they provide is considered valid,” Cecilio pointed out.

Despite the greatest challenge in his life of losing everything including his wife, he still sees hope in his children who never left him and this time, the one that supports him, reasonable enough to continue living his life. -Carlene Madge Morantte, LNU Intern

Widowed by Yolanda, tormented old man restores legal identity through MCRP

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