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Mayor’s help to expedite Legal Assistance to Poor

Press Release
July 3, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  Amid increasing cases of criminality and unresolved court cases, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) will help expedite and broaden the reach of services rendered by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), the government agency tasked to assist the poor who cannot access legal services.

During the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between LMP and PAO held in Quezon City recently, Mayor Strike Revilla of Bacoor, Cavite LMP President, said that the partnership is aimed to strengthen primarily the Barangay Justice System as a foundation for extending services.

“This program will strengthen the Barangay Justice System by providing Barangays with education and orientation.  We are going to empower them by holding seminars to deepen their understanding and improve their mediation skills,” said Mayor Revilla.  “Our courts are so loaded with cases that can be resolved at the Barangay level if only we can strengthen our Barangay Justice System,” he added.

Meanwhile, Atty. Persida Acosta, PAO Chief expressed appreciation to the initiative as it will strengthen and expedite the referral system between the municipalities and PAO.  She said, “the program will pave the way for a faster and simple referral and coordination system. For example, any case happening in a municipality where free legal services for the poor are needed, the Mayor can easily refer the case to us,” she explained.

The MOA between the LMP and PAO will actively promote and advocate mutual cooperation and coordination for the smooth provision of free legal assistance to the constituent and facilitate continuing dialogues to define future initiatives such as policy changes and reforms.  Local Government Units (LGUs) will also provide PAO’s regional or district offices with free office space, equipment and other resources that the program may need.

“We have to dream and while dreaming we have to take an action,” said Mayor Revilla.  “We cannot do everything in one sitting, but we can always start with this one.  We need to help a lot of our constituents but there are only limited numbers of attorneys that can give free legal assistance, now we are solving that problem.  We need to start somewhere; and know the problem clearly and give this solution,” he said.