NOW ON ITS sixth year of legal service, Lingkod Laya, led by San Beda University’s (SBU) Junior Bedan Law Circle (JBLC), held an online event via Zoom last September 9 for Legal Management students who wished to become new sets of volunteers for the program.
Looking back on how the flagship project of JBLC started, the Chairperson of Lingkod Laya, Marc Garol, shared that “Years ago, our Legal Management Executive Board alumni consulted our moderator, Atty. Luis Voltaire Formilleza, and our Department Chairperson, Atty. Michael Daguinod, J.D., of thinking of [an]…activity where they can help the community and also apply the things that they learn from the LM department. That’s when the Lingkod Laya started.”
After conducting its recruitment week and general assembly last September 3-9, Lingkod Laya opened its doors for the 131 student volunteers who are ready to serve the “least, the last, and the lost” and be “of greater help” this year.
“Having a high number of volunteers every year just shows the impact of this project of JBLC and also shows how committed and dedicated the students are to helping and serving the community, especially the PDLs,” explained Garol.
The President of JBLC, Tricia Chandumal, further ascertained that “projects that aim to help PDLs require not just quantity of people, but also the willingness to really serve and help.”
With such a huge number of members on hand, the audience are left to ask how the student volunteers will be properly exposed to such a great responsibility of executing the paralegal training for the PDLs accordingly.
As such, in regard to the shifting of focus on case consultations for year six, Rheanna Yazmin Melanis, Lingkod Laya’s Finance Committee Head, said “We are planning on utilizing as many volunteers as possible by making each one of them equipped with the skills and knowledge as to the papers and processes needed for case consultation and follow-ups.”
She also shared how one of the project’s main challenges when planning for this year’s Lingkod Laya was the lack of utilizing the members to their fullest capacity.
Thus, she emphasized how student volunteers, unlike in the past few years, are expected to attend and complete their own paralegal training and seminar before handling case consultations and paralegal training sessions for the PDLs.
The pandemic is one of the main reasons why utilizing all former volunteers became a challenge for Lingkod Laya. Addressing this problem had led the flagship project to have, “a restructuring of committees to ensure that each volunteer is assigned to a specific committee aligned with what they want to do as a volunteer that their contributions are channeled efficiently and purposefully,” as clarified by Marco Perez, the Lingkod Laya’s Technical and Marketing Committee Head.
Ayen Loreto, Lingkod Laya’s Secretariat Committee Head, gave her comment on Lingkod Laya’s vision of ‘reintegration and innovation’ for its sixth year which “is returning to its foundational principles, symbolized by “Roots,” and re-embracing what initially defined its mission,”
Meanwhile, Perez added that the case follow-up project, one of their main focuses for year six, illustrated the return of its origins considering how the said project was one of Lingkod Laya’s ‘earliest initiatives.’
“Throughout the years, Lingkod Laya has been focusing on helping the PDLs while they’re inside the jails, but this year, we will focus on activities that will aid the PDLs to rebuild their relationships in the society after being inside the jails,” Loreto expressed.
Enlightened by what is in store for JBLC Lingkod Laya’s sixth year, Chandumal ended her interview with a promise that despite such changes, Lingkod Laya will have, “Same objective. Different ways.”