IBP, DSWD ink pact for free legal aid to women, kids

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would benefit women and children who are victims of violence, abuse, neglect, discrimination and human trafficking through fee legal aid.

The agreement also covered assistance to children in conflict with the law and prospective adoptive/foster parents and children.

The MOA was signed by IBP president Vicente Joyas and DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.

Atty. Minerva Ambrosio, national director of the IBP National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA), said the DSWD sought the IBP’s assistance in answering the clamor for legal advice, counseling and representation for their many women and children clients who cannot afford the services of competent and committed lawyers.

The IBP, Ambrosio said, pledged its legal aid program to assist marginalized groups, with special emphasis on women and children.

Under the MOA, the DSWD evaluates the cases and submits requests for legal assistance to the IBP president. The IBP president then refers the requests to the NCLA to verify compliance with its “means and merit” test, which evaluates the financial capacity of prospective clients, as well as the worthiness of legal support.

Qualified clients are endorsed by the NCLA to the appropriate IBP chapter.

The NCLA may also refer cases to a legal aid office or organization whose advocacy is related to the cases submitted.

For the women and child victims, legal assistance shall be by way of giving counsel, gathering of facts and evidence, preparation of documents required by the court, legal representation in court and other services to protect the women and children.

Free legal aid to adoptive/foster parents and children, on the other hand, shall be limited to counseling.

Under the MOA, the IBP shall conduct legal aid clinics for the women and children victims.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 14, 2014.

Lifestyle

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