Greg Joseph S.J. Tiongco
Nov 25, 2022
The 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance, and yet effective and relevant access to the justice system by the poor and marginalised continues to be an aspiration. There are plenty of opportunities for pro bono work in the Philippines, but these come with an equal number of difficulties.
According to the World Justice Project 2018 Survey, only 20 percent of Filipinos were able to access legal help, leaving 80 percent of Filipinos without legal assistance. Worse, of that 20 percent, 72 percent sought legal help from friends and families while 15 percent sought the help of lawyers, the rest from institutions. In a UNDP survey, the common reasons why Filipinos were not able to access legal services were the cost, the inconvenience (due to traffic/distance), the time spent pursuing legal remedies and the sheer lack of contact with lawyers. The demographic most vulnerable to these barriers were overseas Filipino workers (10.23 million), persons with disabilities (953,000), small and medium enterprise owners (1 million) and other indigent clients.
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