The Baguio-Benguet IBP

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By Delmar Carino

The Recloser

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


IT’S GOOD to hear that our local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has been recognized as one of the country’s outstanding chapters on legal aid. Lawyer Franklin Calpito, the outgoing chapter president, said the achievement proves that the members of the local IBP chapter have remained steadfast in their commitment to champion legal assistance for indigents.

The continuity of the thrust for legal aid has thus become a challenge for the newly elected set of officers of the local IBP. The program has been there since day one of the IBP Baguio- Benguet and the latest recognition is the result of the combined efforts of all chapter presidents who have made the free legal aid program a pillar of their leadership. According to Espie, the IBP legal aid secretary for Baguio City, the chapter’s roster of legal aid lawyers is currently handling more than 300 legal aid cases.

Let’s hope all chapter members, new or old, would at least handle three legal aid cases under the IBP flag. Lawyers must have their own sense of social responsibility and spare a little of their time for the IBP legal aid program.

There are more than 1200 lawyer members of the Baguio-Benguet chapter of the IBP but only 188 were able to cast their votes for the election of new chapter officers last Feb. 23 at the Justice Hall. Perhaps some did not have the time to vote. Or they could have been busy with prior commitments. But let’s find time to vote in the succeeding elections.

Let’s ask Pres. Emong about his plans for the IBP. He could continue Franklin’s or the IBP’s good programs and also come up with novel ones that could push the chapter beyond what it is today. I heard about the IBP’s Balik Eskwela program that provided free school supplies to an elementary school in Sablan. Well, that’s fine. I am sure the chapter has a lot more. I heard Emong’s brainchild when he was a director was the cost free executive check up for all lawyers. Go for it again, Sir.

The chapter has more than P2 million in time deposits. Thanks to Ma’am Cristeta Leung, the IBP fund had been in good hands. I learned that the IBP intends to use the money as a seed fund for the construction of a building exclusively for the IBP. The chapter though continues to knock on the doors of the kind hearted for a lot to house the IBP edifice. Maybe our lawyer friends at the city council could help shop for a property the city can donate.

For us lawyers based in Benguet, our wish is to have a separate chapter. The proposal is pending with the IBP national and we hope our new officers could do something about it.

But let’s congratulate our newly elected officers first before we throw to task -- Guillermo Bandonill (President); George Fukai III (Vice Pres.); Jansen Nacar (Secretary); Cristeta Leung (Treasurer); Isagani Calderon (PRO); Jefferson Cosalan (Auditor); and Malcom Bacuso, Roberto Mabalot Jr., Editha Datuin; Louella Xylee Apilado and Angeline Mae Cabrera (Board of Directors).

Of course, we would also like to thank Esperanza Carrera and Marietta Otinguey, our IBP legal aid secretaries for Baguio City and Benguet, respectively, for continuing to man the IBP desks. They will be happy if all members pay their annual dues on time. In the meantime, maybe it’s high time for the lawyers to consider making the P300 mutual fund mandatory.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2013.

Opinion

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