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August 08, 2022

ABA ROLI and IBP host Ninth Legal Aid Caravan in Camarines Sur

The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) held their ninth legal aid caravan (LAC) for indigenous peoples (IPs) on July 16 in Iriga City, Camarines Sur, under the “Access to Justice and Support for the Rule of Law” project supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This LAC welcomed members of the Agta IP community.

ABA ROLI Country Director Mr. Peter Mackenzie in his opening remarks underscored ABA ROLI’s strong partnership with the IBP and their shared goal to provide better legal services to underserved people. Mr. Mackenzie joined IBP National President Atty. Burt M. Estrada and IBP Camarines Sur Chapter President Atty. Francisco Magistrado in welcoming IP participants. Also present were volunteer lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office, newly sworn-in members of the IBP Camarines Sur Chapter who provided pro bono counseling, representatives of the local civil registrar, and personnel from local municipal health centers. 

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was represented by Hon. Rhodex Valenciano. Commissioner Valenciano emphasized the importance of access to formal education for IPs to address the discrimination many of them experience. In appreciation of the LAC, Commissioner Valenciano expressed NCIP’s desire for a partnership with the local IBP chapter to ensure continuing services for IPs. On behalf of NCIP, Commissioner Valenciano also conveyed gratitude to USAID for providing critical support to activities that address IPs’ challenges and seeing the need for legal aid in the communities.

Twenty-five (25) volunteer lawyers participated in the ninth LAC and provided legal consultations to around 66 members of the Agta community in Iriga.  The caravan also offered referral services for participants to various government agencies.

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Asia & the Pacific.