On Nov. 30, 2015, the IBP Chapter represented by its president, Atty. Teodoro M. Lagang, Ret. Judge Helen M. Cabatos, Board of Director and Chairman of the Legal Aid Committee, Atty. Idonah Lee Grupo-Coritico, Atty. Ed Michael E. Supremo and Judelyn Jandayan-Bantol, Legal Aid Clerk actively attended the one-day Joint Regional Legal Aid Summit for Western and Eastern Visayas Regions at Sabin Resort, Ormoc City.
The event kicked off with warm Welcome Remarks and Acknowledgement of participants by the charming Atty. Mae Elaine T. Bathan, Governor of IBP Eastern Visayan Region. The event was well-attended by IBP representatives from the entire Visayas region. Thereafter, first lady National President of the IBP, Atty. Rosario T. Setias-Reyes delivered her Presidentâ€™s Message with emphasis on the new policy directions and priorities of the National Leadership including the establishment of the Peer Assistance, Benefit and Welfare Program for lawyers. She pushed for the updating of lawyerâ€™s profile within their respective regions to aid in the formulation and implementation of its programs and policies particularly on its Merchant Partnership Program and group insurance for lawyers. She also pressed for the prompt and proper liquidation of legal aid subsidies so as not to impede the distribution of its regular allocation.
Thereafter, Atty. Jonas Florentino DL. Cabochan, National Director for National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA), gave a brief overview of the IBP Legal Aid Program and Activities of the National Legal Aid Office. He further discussed the IBP Merchant Partnership Program and encourage the local chapters to replicate what the National Office had started. This way, the local chapters can solicit sponsors and generate funds for the IBP legal aid. He also introduced the IBP saYoutube Video Program which aims to use infotainment video and social media in letting people know their rights.
Atty. Rosalie J. De La Cruz, IBP National Executive Director and Chief of Staff, next tackled the important points to consider regarding Legal Aid and Comprehensive Legal Aid System (CLAS). Relative thereto, a survey on the CLAS was conducted through guided questionnaires on the said subject. Atty. De La Cruz also touched the topic on the responsibilities of the Legal Aid Clerk and salary.
After a hearty lunch, Atty. Jose I. dela Rama, Jr., IBP Central Luzon chairman, Legal Aid Committee rendered a report on the IBPâ€™s Direction to Further Legal Aid entitled â€œBringing Legal And beyond the Philippine Borderâ€™s.
He shared the groupâ€™s outreach activities for OFWs in Hongkong last year which catered to 300 clients and 100 clients in Macau. Early this year, the OFW clients served during their Hongkong legal outreach increased to 400.
Deputy Directors Atty. Rhoderick D.M. De La Paz and Atty. Angel Chona Grace I. Valero-Nunez, also presented on the Chapter Legal Aid Fund and Its Liquidation for Western and Eastern Visayas Region, respectively.
Subsequently, an Open Forum/Dialogue on liquidation of legal aid subsidies among the chapters, PAO referral issues and other challenges faced by the IBP Legal Aid was conducted. In connection with the concerns regarding PAOâ€™s referral of clients to the IBP, the National Office presented to the assembly its proposed Memorandum Elevating as a Policy Issue the Public Attorneyâ€™s Officeâ€™s Claim of Conflict of Interest in Referral of Client to the IBP Legal Aid. In addition, Atty. Teodoro M. Lagang presented to the group the Resolution entitled â€œGuidelines in Accepting Clients who will seek legal assistance under the legal aid program of the IBP Bohol Chapterâ€ crafted by the IBP Bohol Chapter to address the perennial problem with PAO. With regards the liquidation difficulties of some chapters, National president Setias-Reyes delightfully announced that starting next year, the chapters will be given a clean slate by the Supreme Court such that the chapters who have not been receiving legal aid subsidies due to non-submission of liquidation reports, will finally receive their fair share upon execution of an affidavit of undertaking to reimburse the funds received if the chapter cannot liquidate.
A lively workshop thereafter ensued where the respective chapters crafted their Vission-Mission goals and their peculiar Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (VM-SWOT) in relation to the Chapterâ€™s Legal Aid Program. The event was concluded by the closing remarks of Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah S. Fajardo, executive vice president, governor, IBP Western Visayas.
Afterwards, dinner and fellowship amidst a live band was arranged for the delegationâ€™s evening entertainment. Everyone was enthused to join the next IBP big event which will be the House of Delegates Convention on Jan. 29-31, 2016 at the General Santos City.