28,751 POOR ‘YOLANDA’ SURVIVORS TO RECEIVE FREE COPIES OF BIRTH RECORDS

TACLOBAN CITY — At least 28,751 super typhoon Yolanda survivors in Eastern Visayas will get free copies of their birth registration records printed in security papers (SECPA) issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Beneficiaries are indigent children and their families from typhoon-ravaged communities in Leyte, Samar, and Eastern Samar.

The distribution of free copies has a funding of Php4 million from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

In a statement, non-government organization Initiatives for Dialogue for Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc. said the distribution will kick off on Dec. 14 and will be completed within the first quarter of 2016.

The project is a component of IDEALS’ Access to Benefits and Claims after Disaster Expansion (ABCDE) Project, a free legal assistance and mobile civil documentation initiative by the PSA, DSWD and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The assistance on legal identities has prioritized recipients of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Tacloban City, Tanauan, Dulag, Mayorga, Macarthur, La Paz, Burauen, Julita, Dagami, Tabontabon, Pastrana, San Miguel, and Carigara in Leyte.

Also covered are the towns of Lawaan, Hernani, Llorente, Balangkayan, Salcedo, Mercedes and Guiuan in Eastern Samar; and Marabut in Samar province.

“If you would notice, the areas covered are badly hit areas of super typhoon Yolanda. It is our firm belief that civil registration, especially for poor families, is needed for them to access basic government services,” said Edgardo B. Ligon, IDEALS Inc. executive director.

The project for 4Ps beneficiaries is a follow through of the initial phase of the partnership of DSWD, PSA, IDEALS and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) where more than 35,000 Yolanda victims received copies of their civil records.

Since late 2013, IDEALS’ free legal assistance has reached out to more than 301,000 individuals with an estimated monetary benefit of Php195 million. PNA