Xavier U-Ateneo offers free online legal counseling in Cagayan De Oro
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Xavier University Center for Legal Assistance (XUCLA) has announced it is offering free online legal counseling to help individuals “find relief and knowledge in the law” on various legal issues amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has left many confused and anxious as they confront the new reality of restricted liberties, closed businesses and suspended transactions,” project head lawyer Ernesto Neri, an alumnus of the university’s College of Law, said in an email to local media outlets on Wednesday.
Neri acknowledged that the health crisis has disrupted the traditional means of offering legal counseling and the online initiative seeks to offer “a new system of communication for practical means.”
Known as “Tabang Legal: XUCLA Online Legal Counseling,” the initiative provides information on an individual’s basic rights and helps them navigate the law for remedies.
Under the program, a team of law interns provides the legal services by accepting, processing, and responding to legal problems and inquiries under the supervision of XUCLA volunteer-lawyers and law professors.
In providing legal counseling, Neri said they will be aided by a database of local ordinances and national regulations. Individuals can access their services through a Google form linked with the official Xavier Ateneo website, while their Facebook Page serves as their main portal that handles communication and posts related information.
“The Facebook Page will also issue regular infographics on pertinent legal topics during the health emergency such as the rights of healthcare workers, lease period adjustments, quarantine ordinances, and other regulations,” he said.
Although anyone in the Philippines can have access to the services, Neri clarified the project does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Despite limitations, he said XUCLA has received varied legal concerns from both online portals since the project launched earlier this month.
“We have answered concerns about land, family law, freedom of expression, and even business dealings. We also encountered questions in relation to police enforcement of pandemic laws and policies,” he said.
He said that XUCLA is extending the initiative once the pandemic ends, making the project the official online legal platform of the university.
“XUCLA would continue to explore online-based rights literacy programs. the [Facebook] page aims to host a weekly talk show using the Zoom and other platforms with guests from various justice institutions and other government agencies,” Neri said. (PNA)