On 10 July 2015, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the Office of the Legal Aid (OLA) of the Arellano Law Foundation (ALF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the creation of the Itanong Mo Kay Ato!. This is an online legal counseling focused on cases of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and mail-order bride schemes, among others.
Said MOA was preceded by a previous agreement, signed on 29 April 2015, between CFO and OLA to provide indigent individuals/trafficked victims with legal service. Recognizing technology as the fastest and most efficient mode of communication to reach out to Filipinos, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, CFO and OLA agreed to use it to launch a web application for the main purpose of providing online legal counseling on human trafficking and illegal international recruitment.
The signing of the MOA was held at the Arellano University School of Law Campus in Pasay City. Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas represented the Commission, while Executive Director Atty. Gabriel Dela Peña and Atty. Roberto Rafael Pulido represented the Foundation.
As a member of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and Chair of the IACAT-Advocacy and Communications Committee (ADVOCOM), the CFO supervises the operations of the 1343 Actionline against Human Trafficking, a 24/7 national hotline primarily dedicated to campaign against human trafficking and other related acts. The provision of the online legal counseling is in line with the campaign against human trafficking and other related cases.
The web application, Itanong Mo Kay Ato!, can be accessed by the public even those based overseas. On the other hand, partner lawyers will receive and provide legal advice in a 24/7 basis through live chat or e-mails with the assurance that all information will be kept private and confidential. It aims to make legal counseling accessible and convenient to Filipinos who have queries regarding human trafficking, illegal international recruitment, which is usually a prelude to human trafficking and other related cases. It is a unique and innovative platform to reinforce the country’s fight against human trafficking, “Laban kontra Human Trafficking, Laban nating Lahat!”