DSWD Asst. Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said the PAO lawyers assigned to the DSWD were able to assist 178 walk-in clients, 124 clients who sent emails/letters; and 19 clients via calls.
“We are very fortunate that the DSWD’s partnership with PAO was strengthened in 2022 through a supplemental Memorandum of Agreement to facilitate free legal services to single parents and their children. Thus, we were able to provide a total of 477 services to our clients in crisis,” Asst. Secretary Lopez, who is also DSWD spokesperson, said.
The DSWD official said the types of services rendered by PAO lawyers ranged from free legal counseling, referrals or endorsements to other PAO districts/offices, legal documentation or administration of oath, and mediation conferences, among others.
In 2013, the DSWD first entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the PAO and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to provide free legal assistance to victims of violence against women and children, children in conflict with the law, and local prospective adoptive parents who are either biological or step-parents in adoption cases.
“In an effort to ensure the welfare of solo parents, the DSWD forged a new commitment with PAO on September 19, 2023 to expand the existing MOA on the provision of legal assistance to its qualified clients,” the DSWD spokesperson said.
The DSWD and PAO signed the supplemental MOA to enforce the provision of free legal services to single parents and their children seeking financial support from the liable parents, according to Asst. Sec. Lopez.
The partnership was sought by the DSWD following the influx of requests for assistance from lone-parents in relation to lack of financial and child support from their partners.
The PAO committed to extend free legal services and representation to qualified and willing complainants in cases involving enforcement of child support by assigning PAO lawyers at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Quezon City to extend legal services to eligible beneficiaries.
The PAO office at the DSWD is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 A.M to 5 P.M. Interested clients may also call the DSWD PAO at 8-951-2238.