For 70-year-old widower Perpetua Sauy, obtaining a free copy of her birth certificate, which she could not afford to get is like a manna from heaven.

Sauy got married, raise kids and grandchildren, but still she had no birth certificate when super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck. Finishing only third grade and financially handicapped, hinders their family to process civil registration.

The project aims to provide free services in the reconstruction of Yolanda survivor’s legal identity, benefitting thousands of poor families in this storm-hit region.

Unfazed by her age and distance of town hall from her house up the hill in San Roque village, she endured queuing from 7 a.m. to past noontime to process her birth registration.

“I did not mind the ordeal of standing in a middle of slow-moving line because this is for free. I know my daughters in Manila would need my birth certificate if I’m gone,” the wrinkly Sauy said.

On July 14 or eight months after the catastrophe, the local civil registrar handed her most awaited birth certificate as a beneficiary of the Mobile Civil Registration Project (MCRP), launched by the Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, (IDEALS) Inc.

Sauy lives on her own and gets her source of living by selling vegetables and doing laundry work, earning only P200 weekly.

When the monster typhoon razed their house to the ground, Sauy, her daughter and two grandsons had no choice but took shelter in a nearby pig pen, suffering discomfort and bad smell.

With the help of non-government organization, Sauy slowly rebuild their house, but limited resources prevents her from completing the work. Only half of their house has roofing, making them vulnerable to extreme heat during sunny days and freezing breeze of rainy days.

The gray-haired Sauy couldn’t kept herself from smiling and thanking the IDEALS team, whose help she considered like a manna from heaven. – Sherymae Seso, LNU Intern

Free document lifts widower’s outlook

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