PALO, Leyte – A non-government organization will reach out 100,000 storm survivors in mobile civil registration project whose vital identification documents were destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman noted that many survivors have been deprived of social benefits, due to absence of civil registration documents.
“After this initiative was introduced to us, we urged different agencies of the United Nations and national government to help survivors obtain important identification documents,” said Soliman, the keynote speaker of recent project launched in this town.
The official also urged local government units to waive documentary fees for survivors who will claim civil registration records.
Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc. (IDEALS) executive director Egad Ligon said they are targeting to complete the project by end of June 2014.
“The loss of identification documents has adverse impacts to the ability of family-victims and survivors to access benefits and legal claims that they are entitled to obtain after Yolanda. We recognize that legal assistance is one of the urgent needs of survivors,” said Ligon.
IDEALS has been implementing the Access to benefits and Claims after Disaster (ABCD) in storm-ravaged areas of Eastern Visayas. The initiative has benefitted 5,000 residents in Leyte since November.
“When the typhoon struck, the immediate needs were food and shelter. People started to realize the value of civil registration documents after few months when they need requirements to claim benefits,” said Palo, Leyte Vice Mayor Ronnan Christian Reposar, one of the lawyers who has been carrying out the ABCD project.
Through mobile registration, releasing of important documents can be done at the community level with beneficiaries claiming these documents for free. Civil registration is the recording of vital events – births, deaths, marriages – that affect the civil status of individuals.
To push through the community-based civil registration, different organizations donated computers, laptops, printers, copiers, generators and typewriters. Some 200 community organizers were hired to help LCR in conducting local registration.
Listed as recipients are typhoon-displaced residents in Tacloban City, Palo, Tanauan, and Tolosa in the eastern part of Leyte; Villaba, San Isidro, Tabango, Isabel, Matag-ob, and Ormoc City in the northwestern part of Leyte; Basey and Marabut in Samar; Lawaan, Balangiga, Quinapondan, Giporlos, Guiuan, Salcedo, Mercedes, and Hernani in Eastern Samar.
The civil registration project is being implemented by IDEALS, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, DSWD, Philippine Statistics Authority – National Statistics Office (PSA-NSO), 20 local government units (LGUs) and local civil registrar’s (LCR) office.
The initiative is backed by the United Kingdom Aid, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, International Organization for Migration, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Civil of Defense, Oxfam, and Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation. (SARWELL MENIANO)