Legal Document Protection in the Philippines

About the case study:

With the support of the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and in partnership with the Asia Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN), Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund hosted an innovation capacity-building workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia, during the week commencing 29 May 2017 for organizations working in the Asia-Pacific region. The HIF and ADRRN invited newly formed and early stage partnerships, with the lead organization based in the region. This case study was developed based on the workshop.


The project aims to address the common problem of affected households after big disaster where their entitlements as affected households and their efforts to rebuild their homes and their livelihoods are hampered by lack of or destruction of documents on legal identity, household assets and participation in social protection systems. We see the problem as three-fold: 1) Acquiring the needed legal identity documents and other important legal documents such tenurial rights and household assets 2) Enrollment and participating in social protection systems (such as the Government Social Insurance System for government employees, Social Security System for employees and selfemployed persons, insurance plans and micro-insurance schemes, PHILHEALTH, HMOs) 3) Securing these documents on legal identity, household assets and participation in social security system.


At present, the requests of these legal documents is done at an individual level based on need or required by an agency or government unit. The requests also involves payment from the end of the person requesting thus it is not part of the priority of the urban poor communities to obtain. In time that a disaster strikes access to services can become a challenge to the vulnerable sector such as that of the urban poor communities.
Requesting the legal documents in one bulk; as an expressed need of an organized community is also a challenge since the agencies usually entertains requests at an individual rather than community level.

Approach / Stakeholder participation

The project is considered as an innovation since access to legal documents/identification is seldom readily compiled by an individual or a community, it is usually requested by the individual if needed and if he/she can provide the necessary payments needed to secure the documents. The process of collecting the necessary documents at the community level, digitizing and storing the data in cloud storage for the purposes of accessibility so that in the event that a disaster strikes such as flood or fire the members of the community can readily access and present their documents needed to avail of government services that can assist them in coping in the stress brought about by the experienced disaster.
These will help affected families cope with their damages, losses and needs by: • Facilitating entitlements such as relief assistance from government agencies and other donors • Assisting in rehabilitation and recovery efforts in terms of housing and livelihoods
The project will be implemented in through partnership with the community and Non- Government Organizations that provides legal assistance and capacity building for communities in the areas of disaster preparedness and response.
The project aims to document the process and learnings in the implementation to a pilot community, the experience will then be shared to the local government and if it will be possible to be replicated in a barangay level.

Community Organizing – The Foundation for the Development of the Urban Poor (FDUP) will work closely with the pilot community association, assisting in the data gathering and identification of legal documents that needs to be gathered.
Legal expertise – The Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment Through Alternative Legal Services Inc. (IDEALS) will work closely with the National Government Agencies to provide assistance to the community on how to request for the legal documents. The organization will also provide to the community the importance of requesting and obtaining a copy of the identified documents.
Linkaging – working with Information Technology experts in ensuring that the process of digitizing the obtained legal documents will be accessible to the community as well as not compromising the said documents.


The project will address all three concerns through two main strategies: 1) Linking up with proper government office and conducting community roadshows/ missions to facilitate the acquisition of needed documents for legal identity, tenurial rights and household assets, and participation in social protection systems. 2) Securing the documents by digitizing them and storage in multiple sites (including cloud storage) so that even if the original documents are destroyed by disaster, it would be easier to reconstitute these documents with available digital copies


A possible challenge that can be faced in this innovation is the acceptability of government agencies in the process of saving the digitized copies of the legal documents. Questions that can be posed by this innovation is the security of the documents being stored in a cloud storage, the security features that will be used. These questions can be addressed by working closely and conducting dialogues with IT experts as well as the National and Local Government units.
Another possible issue is the process of requesting legal documents in bulk (a community association requesting documents rather than an individual filing a request); these issues can be worked out once the pilot community as an organized group will conduct a series of dialogue as to how their requests can be worked out.