Filipinos may now access free legal assistance and employment opportunities at the Office of the Vice President (OVP) after the latter signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Wednesday.
Vice President Sara Duterte said her office initiated the partnerships to make the aforementioned services more accessible to the public.
“Ang OVP kasi under my administration, nakatutok kami sa peace and entrepreneurship. Nakita namin sa mga lumalapit dito sa opisina at sa mga satellite offices namin na iba-iba ‘yung concerns na di naka-align doon sa priority areas ng OVP,” said Duterte.
(The OVP under my administration is focused on peace and entrepreneurship. We saw that some of those who seek assistance from our office and satellite offices have different concerns outside our priority areas.)
“So, naghanap kami ng mga partners tulad ng DOLE doon sa mga naghahanap ng emergency employment o pangtawid sa panahon na wala silang trabaho at sa PAO para sa mga naghahanap ng legal advice o legal assistance,” she added.
(That’s why we looked for partners like DOLE for those searching for emergency employment and PAO for legal assistance.)
Under their respective MOUs, the PAO will provide legal services while the DOLE will help the OVP in implementing the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.
PAO chief Persida Acosta said two lawyers may be assigned in every satellite office of the OVP but it will still depend on the needs of the said offices.
There are 2,500 public attorneys and 1,000 staff under PAO, she added.
“Pwede siguro dalawa.. pag-aaralan namin kung ano ‘yung bulk ng pangangailangan ng mga satellite offices ng ating mahal na Pangalawang Pangulo,” said Acosta.
(We can assign two but we’ll still study the bulk of the OVP’s needs.)
Further, Acosta said they are expecting to reach more indigent Filipinos through the partnership.
“Ang ating inaasahan ay lalong maabot ng mga mahihirap sa mga dalampasigan, kabundukan, at mga baybayin na ang mga legal aid o ang pagpunta sa korte, paghingi ng hustisya,” she said.
(We expect to reach poor Filipinos in seaside, highlands, and coastal areas and give them legal aid or help in seeking justice.)
Meanwhile, DOLE Undersecretary Felipe Egargo Jr. detailed how they will help the OVP in the TUPAD program.
“Sa pamamagitan ng memorandum of understanding, sila po ang magbibigay ng beneficiaries sa iba’t ibang rehiyon ng ating bansa, at kami naman po ang magbibigay ng pasahod doon sa mga mae-employ na mga workers na ibibigay ng OVP,” Egargo said.
(Through the MOU, the OVP will provide the beneficiaries of the program in the various regions. As for the DOLE, we will provide their wages.)
The TUPAD program is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed, and seasonal workers.
For her part, Duterte said the OVP is continuously assessing the concerns their office is receiving as it will serve as their basis in looking for other “partners.” She also said the OVP is eyeing to establish at least three more satellite offices in various areas of the country.–Sundy Locus/AOL, GMA Integrated News