By Jose Santino Bunachita
PIO Reporter

ALASKA, MAMBALING, Cebu City (August 12, 2022) — At 39 years old, Arlyn Daomani just got her Certificate of Live Birth today, thanks to a free legal aid caravan organized here by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI).

Arlyn Daomani. (PIO/Allan Defensor)

“Dugay na kaayo ni nako nga problema kay wala koy (certificate of) live birth. Dako kaayo ni og tabang nako kay nagka-live birth na ko,” said Daomani who is part of the local Badjao community here.

Many of the Badjaos here have the same problem as Daomani. Most of them have not officially registered their birth records with the appropriate agencies.

According to Felicito Asamsa, their tribal chieftain, not having official birth records prevents their members to get valid IDs and avail of many government services.

“Dako kaayo ni og tabang nga naay legal aid diri kay kung unsay mga problema namo sa papeles, matabangan mi sa mga abogado,” he said.

Dugay na kaayo ni nako nga problema kay wala koy (certificate of) live birth. Dako kaayo ni og tabang nako kay nagka-live birth na ko.

Arlyn Daomani, part of the local Badjao community in Mambaling

At least 15 volunteer lawyers from the IBP Cebu City Chapter were present during the legal aid caravan, said its president, Atty. Michelle Mendez-Palmares.

Aside from legal aid, the Cebu City Office of the City Civil Registrar (OCCR) was also there as well as PhilSys for the national ID registration.

Atty. Michelle Mendez-Palmares. (PIO/Allan Defensor)

A pop-up COVID vaccination was also available to cater to children in preparation for the coming face-to-face classes.

Atty. Leizl Parajas, senior program manager of ABA ROLI, said Cebu City is their tenth and last stop for their nationwide legal aid caravan.

“This is our project with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Our aim is to increase access to justice for our vulnerable sectors,” she said.

Their current caravan, which started last November 2021, is focused on indigenous peoples.

Prior to Cebu City, ABA ROLI also held legal aid activities in Bukidnon, Bataan, South Cotabato, Mountain Province, Antique, Palawan, Agusan Del Sur, Surigao Del Sur, and Camarines Sur.  #