MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--As the month-long celebration of the 63rd Araw ng Lanao del Sur carries on, the provincial government likewise holds a week-long free legal assistance for its constituents from July 11 to 15, this year.
Provincial Legal Officer Lawyer Faisal Cali said they partnered with the legal community in the province which included the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) - Lanao del Sur Chapter, Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC), National Prosecutor’s Office (NPO), Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and Mindanao State University (MSU)-College of Law to successfully extend legal services to the residents.
He said the main goal of the provincial government in giving free legal assistance is to address the current demand for a legal consultation, especially now that a lot of residents want to know if they could be beneficiaries of the recently approved Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act.
Cali shared that in the previous year, the provincial government also conducted major legal assistance wherein affidavits of losses and damages of properties in the most affected area of Marawi City were executed and this, accordingly, paved the way for the baseline of the Compensation Law.
“Pwedeng bumisita dito ang mga kapatid nating Meranaw, lalong lalo na ang nasa Marawi City na hoping na mag-apply for the compensation… Ang activity na ito ay karagdagang activity na tumutulong sa goal na matulungan natin ang mga Meranaw na macompensate sila,” he said.
[Our Meranaw brothers and sisters can visit here, especially those who are in Marawi City who hopes to apply for compensation… This activity is an additional activity that helps to the goal of assisting Meranaws to be compensated.]
Cali further stated that apart from addressing concerns on the Marawi Compensation Law, they also target to allow indigent residents to have an access to legal assistance as this service is known to be expensive when rendered by private lawyers.
He conveyed that through this weeklong event, they can offer any legal assistance for free except notarial of commercial documents.
During the first days of their event, Cali saw that several clients have already visited them but they are still hoping that in the coming days, more will still avail and access the service.
”At the end of the day, our main purpose is not really to market our service but rather, to provide service for those who need it. Iyong pupunta sa amin, rest assured na tutulungan namin [those who will go to us, rest assured that we will help them],” he said.
The provincial legal officer, however, said that even if the weeklong activity will be over, the provincial government will continuously offer legal assistance through its legal arm which is the Provincial Legal Office.
He underscored that although legally speaking, the office is noted to be an in-house legal office and does not have the primary function to respond firsthand to legal concerns of the public but being a public servant, they cater to walk-in civilians who wish to consult as they are ready to supplement the assistance that should be rendered by appropriate arms like the PAO alongside other agencies and organizations such as the IBP-Legal Aid Clinic and MSU-College of Law Legal Aid who are in the front line of providing indigents the legal services they need. (CRG/PIA-Lanao del Sur)