The Need for Accessible Legal Resources in the Philippines
Legal service need not be that expensive
In a country like the Philippines where most of the people belong to the middle class and poverty is rampant, legal service should not be that expensive. Towards this end, there should be a need for resources, online or not, where would-be clients will be able to access information as to law firms available to them. It is therefore imperative that a repository of law firms and legal practitioners be available where those who need legal service will be able to go over and find the legal service that best fits their respective situation.
Apart from an online repository, people should be able to get resources, online or not, where they can access the relevant laws or related cases or just any helpful resource that can aid them in their respective situations. The internet is increasingly becoming popular in the Philippines and the technology to use the same is becoming cheaper and cheaper. Mobile phones and tablets, for instance, are getting cheaper and cheaper, so is the cost for mobile internet. Right now, free websites are great sources of laws and cases but it would be more ideal if more resources are made available to the public. The Supreme Court website is also a good resource for new cases and is increasingly improving. Blogs tackling legal matters are starting to surface slowly but blogs are not as trustworthy as official sources. Also, online resources in the local Tagalog language is also necessary so that those who are not conversant in English will still be able to understand the available materials.
The need for a repository of law firms and legal materials
In any culture, in any society, there is a legal system in place. The Philippines, just like other civilized societies, has a legal system that governs its citizens. To a major extent, it follows the legal system in the United States.
The Philippines is a third world country, although recent conditions have alleviated the economic position of the country. As a third world country, majority of its population belong to the middle class and lower middle class. Even so, legal service is needed by everyone. While most will not be able to pay for a good legal service, there are avenues where free legal service can be availed of. But this is not always easy to do. There are so many who need free legal service and there is only a few available free legal service outfits or agencies.
In a setup like this, there is a need for the public to have access to materials that can make them understand the law somehow or look for materials that can make their situations easier. There is a dire need for sources that can feature news, updates and interpretation of laws in the Philippines. Currently, there is only a very limited number of resources available online that tackles the topic of laws and legal issues in the Philippines.
Materials are also needed that will feature law firms in the Philippines in the field of corporate, intellectual property, labor, litigation and other fields of practice. This way, people can easily find the law firm or lawyer they need, those that have expertise that are specific to their needs.
The Philippine Government Should Take a More Active Approach
The Philippine government needs to take a more proactive approach to offering legal aid and assistance to Filipinos. Assistance does not only take the form of the Public Attorney's Office. Legal assistance can be in the form of readily available materials and resources. Majority of the public are ignorant to laws and rules so they tend to suffer in the end. The availability of materials other forms of legal resources will certainly go a long way into helping the Filipinos. Legal education, in whatever form or manner, will always be a welcome move by the government.
The national government can initiate projects that will provide the most basic assistance to those who need legal assistance. At the moment, lawyers practically have the monopoly to legal knowledge and procedure in government agencies and in courts. Slowly educating the masses will go a long way in ensuring that all legal rights are respected or all legal procedures are properly followed.
The government has available resources that it can mobilize or capitalize on in order to effectively implement projects geared towards educating the masses. It can work with legislature for passage of education bills, or it can create agencies that will have the sole purpose of delivering legal education to the masses. It can even tap the resources of non-government organizations (NGOs), many of which are just looking for the right cause to back our support.