PAO to put up district office in remote DavOr town

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/7 June) – To reach out to more people in the rural areas, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) will put up a district office in the town of Banaybanay in Davao Oriental.

Francis Calatrava, PAO Davao Region chief, said PAO central office had already issued a clearance for the establishment of a district office in the town of Banaybanay, some 70 kilometers away from this city.

“It is part of our outreach program,” Calatrava told MindaNews. “We will be the one to go to our clientele, instead of them coming here (Davao office),” he added.

Calatrava said Banaybanay Mayor Pete Mejos was receptive to the idea of putting up a PAO district office there.

“When he heard of our interest to set up office there, he offered to host our office,” he said.

The establishment of Banaybanay district office brings the number of PAO satellite offices in the province of Davao Oriental to five with the earlier opening in the towns of Baganga, Cateel and Manay and in Mati City.

One of the lawyers in the Baganga district office, according to the PAO regional chief, will be transferred to Banaybanay to man the new satellite office.

Calatrava said the Banaybanay office, aside from serving its constituents, will also cater to clients from nearby Lupon municipality.

The town of Banaybanay has population of 33,714 in 6,448 households while Lupon has a 57,092 people in 10,812 households, according to the 2000 census.

Meanwhile, Calatrava revealed that there are now more lawyers who want to become public attorneys. “We have a lot of applicants now,” he said.

He said there are now 41 public attorneys in the region.

PAO is a government agency that exists to provide the indigent litigants, the oppressed, marginalized and underprivileged members of society free access to courts, judicial and quasi-judicial agencies, by rendering legal services, counseling and assistance. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)