A NON-GOVERNMENT organization (NGO) will launch a program that aims to assist Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors in filing the declaration of presumptive death for the missing victims of the 2013 catastrophe.
Under the Civil Code of the Philippines, a family member can file for the declaration four years after disappearance for the purpose of remarriage and claiming benefits.
“Under these rules on presumptive death, there is no need for a court decree. The mere running of the period raises the presumption of death,” said Mary Grace Lazarra, paralegal of Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services Inc. (Ideals).
During the program’s launch on November 7, the NGO will discuss basic concepts of petition for declaration of presumptive death.
Ideals will also turn over documents to the Public Attorney’s Office filed by 20 petitioners.
The application for the declaration of presumptive death is not yet open to the public, but there are already 20 qualified petitioners, Lazarra said on Sunday, October 29.
The purpose of this initiative is to help families recover from the painful loss of their family members, remarry, and move on from the tragic experience.
The initiative is part of the NGO’s Access to Benefits and Claims During Disaster (ABCD) program. It reaches those affected by natural and man-made calamities and helps them through providing legal services and assistance, reconstructing their damaged civil and legal documents, and in accessing social protection and welfare assistance.
The group launched the ABCD few weeks after the super typhoon pummeled Eastern Visayas on November 8, 2013.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported 1,074 missing persons in Eastern Visayas as of end 2015.
Yolanda is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,300 people in the central part of the Philippines. (PNA)