CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Dozens of residents of Opol town, Misamis Oriental availed of free legal advice and services offered by students and faculty of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) Law School in Barangay Poblacion Sunday (Jan. 26).
Danilo Daroy Jr., chairman of Barangay Poblacion and a third-year law student at Xavier Ateneo, said that around 60 graduating law students and five lawyers from the Jesuit school spent a few hours with the people of Opol to give legal advice and other forms of assistance.
Daroy said he organized the project called “Hatod Balaod 2020” to cater to Opol residents’ legal needs.
The activity was held at the gymnasium of Opol Community College in Poblacion.
During the activity, assistance were provided to individuals whose concerns were mostly related to land issues as well as to the processing of birth certificates and securing notarial services.
Aside from the benefits the activity gave to those who can barely afford to consult or employ the services of an attorney, Daroy said the activity will also be helpful to law students, especially those who have taken a subject on legal counseling.
“This is a part of the curriculum, and as required by the Supreme Court, that law students must render free legal clinic or legal counseling. This is also the students’ first-hand experience of what a lawyer does,” Daroy said.
Charis Yongzon, 44, a resident of Barangay Bonbon, Opol, said “Hatod Balaod” was helpful to her family’s plan of processing the individual titles for the land that she and her siblings inherited.
Yongzon said she came to the free legal clinic to accompany her son who has questions about his daughter’s birth certificate, but realized that she too needed the legal help.
“I am glad I came here. I did not have to spend money to go to a lawyer for the legal advice,” she said.
Yongzon said she was told to go to concerned government agencies and to bring with her the necessary documents such as the land title.
Maximino Seno, the mayor of Opol, said “Hatod Balaod” is a big help for the people of the town.
“It’s all pro bono. They don’t have to pay, especially in the notarial services, considering that you have to spend when you go to a lawyer,” Seno said.
With the success of “Hatod Balaod,” Daroy said he and his fellow organizers are planning on partnering with Xavier Ateneo’s School of Medicine to hold free legal cum medical clinic in the future to give more services to the needy. (davaotoday.com)