MANILA, Philippines — The National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA) Hall of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) opened its doors to the public in Pasig City on Thursday.
According to the Supreme Court public information office, Supreme Court Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa led the inauguration and blessing of the NCLA Hall.
Caguiao said that the NCL Hall aims to improve access to vital legal and social services and widen its public service scope.
“Free legal aid is no longer just an aspiration for some, but a reality for all,” said Justice Caguiao.
He added that the project will enhance the court system’s efforts to meet Filipinos’ expectations, who may yet have their legal requirements met by the current system due to the NCLA Hall’s new and more convenient location and technology-ready architecture.
With regards to IBP’s establishment of the NCLA Hall, Caguiao commented that it “energizes the legal communities’ work of restoring the dignity to so many Filipinos who are truly the least, the last and the lost, and ultimately, strengthens the country’s democratic fabric within which all our lives are woven.”
Also present at the event were former IBP National President Atty. Burt Estrada and the newly-elected IBP National President Atty. Antonio Pido.
For Estrada, the NCLA demonstrates the IBP’s conviction that “the heart of IBP is free legal aid services,” and that it sends a clear message that IBP Legal Aid Services have grown, and that there is access to justice, especially for low-income clients.
Pido then wrapped the ceremony by thanking his predecessor for the NCLA legacy, urging IBP members to make the most of this endowment and keep collaborating to improve the lawyers’ organization. — Bea Alicia Delariarte, INQUIRER.net intern
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