In March 30, 1996, LAW, Center, Inc.and its services were formally introduced to the public. It was able to obtain the commitment of the women’s committees of Cebu Province and Cebu City, the women-related non-governmental organizations and civic groups such as the LIHOK Pilipina Foundation, the Cebu Lady Lawyers Association (CELLA) and the FederacionInternacionale de Abogadas (FIDA) Cebu Chapter, as well as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), and the academe. Eventually, these groups entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which specified mutual access to each other’s services.

Since then, LAW Center, Inc.’s secretariat was able to process and bring to court a number of complaints, namely, rape, child support and legal separation.

Encouraged by the initial successes of these cases, Law Center, Inc. was bent to pursue its objectives more vigorously.

Dolores M. Aliño, Executive Director of Legal Alternatives for Women (LAW) Center, Inc. said women’s issues being “very broad”, “we focused on violence against women (VAW) , especially the marginalized, but we are actually open to other women because women as a group are disadvantaged. Services here are legal aid and counseling. Many times, the legal aspect is necessary, but counseling is even more necessary so women can voice out problems, air their grievances, doing which provides relief and begins the process of healing. So first of all we aim to empower women through counseling, but there are those who need legal assistance such as victims of battering, trafficking, rape, sexual harassment and job discrimination”.

From Jan. 4 to Dec. 18, 1998, the center filed almost a hundred cases in Cebu City and Province, the majority of which were for physical injuries (34), followed by rape (27); other cases were for annulment, child support, abduction, kidnapping and theft.

Most of these cases came to the center through its network of officers, staff and volunteers. The other source of cases are those referred by the Pink Room of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and the Violet Ribbon Advocates of the Cebu City Medical Center, the Children’s Legal Bureau and other NGO friends. Increasingly, its work is getting to be known because it offers seminars for women in the community and in the workplace. These are seminars on self-awareness, on sexual harassment and job or gender discrimination, on women’s rights literacy and the rape law, and leadership-building workshops as well as paralegal trainings all of which help empower women in their various roles as woman and wage earner, as wife, mother and homemaker.


LAW Center, Inc. dreams of a society

  • that opposes all forms of discrimination, harassment, abuse and exploitation of women in the home, in the workplace, and in the streets;
  • where women are healthy and are enjoying physical, mental and emotional well-being in every stage of their lives;
  • where being a wife, mother, income-earner or a single parent is no longer a burden;
  • that promotes the dignity and equality of women with men;
  • where there is political equality and/or equal participation in the bureaucracy;
  • where both men and women leaders are holding elective and appointive post;
  • where women are protected by the state by means of just and non-discriminatory laws and policies;
  • where women, especially the marginalized, are critically aware, empowered, and are actively and meaningfully participating in building a just and humane social order where
  • there is peace, abundance, ecological harmony and equitable distribution of the wealth of the earth as well as access to livelihood opportunities and basic social services.


To raise the level of consciousness of women and the wider community on the significant role women play in authentic national development, and to empower them towards their liberation through the law and other extra-legal remedies.


Increased social awareness and a more active and widespread participation of women in addressing the issues affecting them and the wider community;

Formation of principled, competent, effective, and dedicated women leaders;

An informed and enlightened citizenry and bureaucracy who are supportive of the emancipation of women from all forms of discrimination, abuse, and exploitations; and

Availability of free services that will respond to women’s legal and psycho-social problems.


Officers and Consultants

President – Atty. Virginia P. Santiago, Retired Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, Region VII

Vice President – Atty. Meinrado Paredes, Retired Judge RTC 13

Secretary – Vicente V. Abadesco, Retired Executive Director, Visayan Forum

Treasurer – Edwin S. Villaver, CEO, Optima Typographics

Auditor – Ester B. Velasquez, Retired President, Cebu Normal University

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