In the course of our work, it is not seldom that we would meet with Overseas Filipinos who do not have some form of legal problem in the Philippines, or have an inquiry on matters that would need legal advice or assistance. These problems range from minor matters to the very serious ones that need decisive action. Unfortunately, some problems or other dire legal consequences could not be given a solution because the party concerned had simply relied on advice from relatives, friends or non-lawyers in making certain decisions that may have potential legal consequences. Results could be disastrous financially and psychologically to the migrant worker and their families, when these could have been avoided by simply asking for legal assistance when faced with an unfamiliar transaction or incident.
Unfortunately, due to their absence from the Philippines, Overseas Filipinos are unable to personally look after the welfare and rights of their family members or their properties, and are prevented from easy access to legal information or representation. Consulting this legal manual, accessing the Ercof legal referral system or seeking legal assistance from lawyer-friends or those recommended by bar associations, could spare one from wasting resources. Ercof had precisely included this service because these problems could constitute a drain not only on a migrant worker’s hard-earned income, but also a cause for misery on the part of the migrant and the family left behind. The world out there is full of scam artists out to deprive one of hard-earned income. Having the proper mindset for resource management, involves not only improving one’s knowledge on the range of savings and investments, but also protecting and conserving these savings through reliable and competent advice.
Credit is due to those who put this effort together-chiefly to my esteemed colleague Atty. Manuel M. Goyena, Ercof’s legal officer, to researchers Dennis Estopace and Villy Cabuag of the OFW Journalism Consortium, to Jeremiah M. Opiniano who helped in the editing and lay-outing the manual, to the various resource persons from government and colleagues in the legal profession who shared information, insights and opinions. Finally, to the Overseas Filipinos, whose achievements, as well as mistakes, have given the inspiration and cause for the publication of this manual.
ATTY. ILDEFONSO F. BAGASAO
President and Chief Executive Officer
...to be continued