Lawyers should troop to the areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) to aid the kin of those who died from the Super Typhoon in securing death claims and other benefits.
Lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno, Founding Dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, made the call in light of the announcement of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council that Super Typhoon Yolanda has already left 5,590 people dead and around 1,600 still missing.
Super Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest typhoon recorded in the world in 2013, reduced Leyte, Capiz, as well as parts of Eastern Samar to Ground Zero by wiping away houses, roads, bridges, highways, schools, government offices, coconut trees, among others.
“With what happened, there are inadequate facilities for documentation of the death certificates, a basic requirement when seeking claims with GSIS and private insurance firms. We need lawyers there to assist them in obtaining the death certificates of their kin. If you will wait for the court to take judicial recognition of a person’s death, it could take four years. That’s a long time,” Diokno said during the Politicians meet Professors forum in the Ateneo de Manila University hosted by the Jesse Robredo Foundation.
Diokno is the Chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, while GSIS is the Government Service Insurance System which provides for the benefits of the government employees.
Private sector employers, on the other hand, are mandated by law to remit dues to the state-run Social Security System for the benefits of the employees who work in the private sector.
Diokno and a number of his colleagues are set to book a trip to the areas affected by Yolanda to embark on such initiative, underscoring that the government should also lend a hand since it would take a while before the victims recover from the trauma and devastation caused by the Super Typhoon.
“The national government can intercede concerning the death claims. Perhaps they can relax the requirements by just a little pending the legal documentation on the ground,” Diokno added.
LLANESCA T. PANTI