THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao City Chapter is all set to hold its second free “Legal Aid Mission” for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Singapore this month.
IBP-Davao president lawyer Rogelio Largo said there are 29 lawyers who already bought their tickets for Singapore for the mission slated January 18 to 21.
"Yes, tuloy na tuloy ating legal aid mission para sa lahat ng overseas Filipino workers na nasa Singapore," Largo said.
Largo said the project aims to assist OFWs, who are mostly working as domestic helpers, on issues and concerns related to their families. Among the problems the workers have been experiencing are related to marriage, finances (as some are victims of scams), labor, and psychological torture from their employers.
IBP-Davao director lawyer Marie Kristine Reginio, who attended the first legal aid mission in Hong Kong in 2017, earlier described the workers’ situation abroad as far different from the insight of their families in the Philippines.
Reginio said the alienation between a mother and their children is one of the painful consequences of the Filipinos working abroad.
Largo said IBP Davao City chapter would also like to develop a sense of volunteerism on the part of the lawyers as their way of performing a social responsibility through the project.
The IBP Davao earlier got the approval from the Philippine Embassy in Singapore to conduct the mission. This will still be done by lawyers under IBP, and they are expecting 1,000 OFWs.
IBP Davao launched, during their installation last September 30, an expanded and intensified legal aid program called Legal Aid Warriors (LAW) Project, which envisions involving not less than 100 lawyers.
The program aims to address the increasing number of criminal cases filed in courts due to government's crackdown on drugs, corruption and criminality, thus, the surge in the work loads of defenders from Public Attorney's Office.
LAW is founded with principles that IBP, where all lawyers are members, is mandated to help improve the administration of justice.
The LAW Project also envisions providing adequate and efficient free legal representation to OFWs and deserving indigent client/pauper litigants in some cases. It also envisions creating volunteer lawyers.