2015 Summer Internship Program: A Personal Reflection

Posted on 2015/06/30

By Rene D. Abueg, Palawan State University

I’m not really sure as of to the goal of this summer internship. Initially I was informed that this is a leadership training, an immersion project sponsored by the United States embassy. My eyes glittered when our school leader informed me that I was chosen to be the representative from our school. Who wouldn’t? It would be my first time to be sent out of Palawan for this kind of event and I would be working with/for the U.S. Embassy. But I thought to myself, if I am to participate, what is my objective? What are my benefits? I thought for a few seconds and several objectives, plans and ideas came up; (1) to partake in the summer internship program and improve myself/ self growth and the likes. (2) To roam around Davao and market my business, (3) to discover Davao as it is, experience its beauty and of course those which are hidden from the national public. (4) To take the real estate broker’s exam and to (5) Connect to people. What am I to miss if I participate on this event? I would miss the opportunity to earn money since it’s the high time of tourists visiting Palawan and I would miss my time with my family. On the other hand, what might be the objective of the US embassy?

So the summer internship program began. I am not really sure if I am the proper representative. My idea dictates that it should be someone with a very strong character, someone whose grades are outstanding, who has very high achievements. Someone who is not me. I still went on though. It has been my habit to finish what I have started even if I feel that I am not yet ready, “You have already set one of your foot on the ground, might as well put on both”. On the first two days we had an orientation seminar. We had ice breakers, the main topics were discussed such as VAWC and human trafficking, we were told what to expect in Davao and even had the event published by the media. After the two day orientation, we were sent to our designated houses. We were sent to Panabo City. It was not what I expected. I thought we would be in the slums/ rural area like in Palawan. It was not. It was more like your average rural-city, earning average incomes with small amount of traffic, slowly growing financially and about to be transformed into a more urban city, the usual kind of change.

Anyway, so we conducted house to house to survey and invite the locals to participate in our VAWC and Human Trafficking discussion, asked documents from the local police, DSWD and other organizations to support our research and of course held our event. We then went back to Davao City, where again, we were divided into groups and had our internship. I was one of the luckier participants since I was on I.D.I.S. for the whole three weeks whereas the others only had a week from one organization and be transferred to another. I believe that I was able to grasp a more solid idea on how things should be done step by step compared to others since their work time is limited. Although the travel time going to IDIS is more or less one hour and you have to ride two jeepneys to get there, the experience was very rich. You get crumbs of information which you can work out into big ideas. They have shown me how to work out an ordinance, how to be more vigilant, how private-public sectors work together. Another idea which amazed me is organizing several activities. Sure participating in events to uplift your City is fair, but organizing it is different. They have even made it into an annual activity!

As the Summer Internship Program ended, the following are my conclusion.
This activity is very helpful mainly on two points. First, it helps strengthen the bond of the Philippines and the United States of America. Second, it helps the professional and personal careers of the participants including the hosts.

As to the US Embassy I thank them for the experience. I believe that they have the idea that the real immersion is not when you are sent outside your city and to work in the four corners of the wall of an office. I believe that they have duly noted that the real immersion is in our actual daily lives during the immersion proper, trying to live with our fellow intern, understand them and settle our differences, see from a different point of view, create allies, bonds, connections, find friends from the different parts of the Philippines, exchange cultures. To compare and contrast in dealing within the same agency only from a different region, To explore, experience. To let us be able to analyze and give us fresh ideas. To be able to see what our city would be like or what it has been like (our cities before or after it has been highly urbanized or if still in rural) after few years. Truly it has given me a lot of ideas which is and could be a valuable weapon in life -

By: Klaus Austin V. Fuentes, Mindanao Free Legal Aid Clinic (MINFLAC of MSU-IIT)

The Summer Internship Program (SIP) is more of an eye-opener for me. Such is not just a memorable summer experience because it also exposed me to understand alternative lawyering. The said practice is new to me because I only knew the concept of ‘lawyers are only for trial courts’.
The said SIP experience is best to be described in three words: informative, exciting and engaging. Alternative lawyering is not the sophisticated practice opposite to what has been portrayed of lawyers in the hit TV series such as Suits, Law and Order, Private Practice, or even Ipaglaban Mo. The said experience gave me the picturesque avenue to be informed and exposed to such advocacy. This is the best avenue to expose a law student to the reality of the Philippine justice system and the political behaviour of the contemporary Filipino society.
SIP 2015 is informative because it taught me about the legal system from the grassroots perspective. I am also beginning to widen my understanding of the socio-political behaviour of the locals in Davao with regards to women in the society and how they were empowered about their rights and the VAWC law. Davao has its own distinct character when it comes to the political of imposing laws and effectively influencing the behaviour of its constituents in a positive way. Although not all of them are well informed about the crime of human trafficking it was good to know that the local government of Davao in partnerships with some concerned NGOs in the place such as the Global Impact and Talikala are making significant efforts on the said issue for the prevention of the crime and the protection of the victims.
Much to my expectation the said experience was exciting especially when an intern will be exposed to meet different kinds of people. I was were assigned to an NGO which is in one way or another not really related to the theme of the program but what is more was that learning and experience in Davao is not limited to one issue only. In Davao Jubilee Foundation, I came to know more about the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and their rights. Their case is not totally concerning about gender inequality issue but it occurred to me that theirs is another significant avenue to learn and understand their concerns and the laws related to them.
Lastly, SIP 2015 is engaging. Once an intern is on the site and is given certain tasks, one is boosted to do his best and be involved in the tasking. I can tell such because of our forums with my co-interns. It occurred to me that when the task is very engaging it fired up our teamwork. With this, our friendship developed not just to be informed and experience the program but also to take a leap of seriousness and curiosity to our ignorant or maybe not-so-ignorant minds about the reality of our society.
The SIP 2015 experience in Davao is just a microcosm of what we should learn about the Philippine legal system. I realized that there are much to learn about such. What a law student should learn must extend beyond the four corners and walls of the classroom. What more, is that I can extract that substantial part of my learning and experience to drive me more into studying law and become a lawyer someday to enable me to help the people especially those who are needy

By: Najat Hashim, Mindanao State University Legal Aid Clinic

The Summer Internship Program (SIP) was one of the best venues for students to extend their hands to the grassroots level in the community while also learning from them. It’s actually amazing that I have experienced and learned so much in just a very short period of time. Working with the NGOs was an eye-opener and it has made me realized how lucky I am for being able to study and still get what I want while others have to sell their bodies just to be able to sustain their needs.
Through this SIP, I have also realized that every person has different struggles in life and every person has his own story and instead of judging them, we have to understand and help them with our own little ways; because things that we believe to be true, based on our observation, is not always the truth.
One of the biggest impacts of the SIP to me was the urge to make a positive change in my own community. To apply what I have learned during the immersion and internship in implementing my own project. In short, the SIP has given me the opportunity to see the world in a different perspective; I’ve seen the importance of really working at the grassroots level for I was able to understand the problems deeper -–
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By: Mary Abbygaile Tinay, Palawan State University

Becoming one of the participants of the Summer Internship Program (SIP) was a great opportunity for me as it has changed me as a person. It has changed my perspective and view about life. It has taught me that helping the less fortunate is also one of my responsibilities. Also, through the SIP, I have come to realized the reason why God gave us two hands, the first hand was to help ourselves and the other was to help those people who are in need.
The SIP opened me to things I never thought I was able to do. I became someone that I didn't think I will become someday – a person to others. That is why I am so happy and thankful to ULAN and the US Embassy in Manila for giving us this opportunity. It has opened our eyes on what is really happening in our society –

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By: April Diano, Shiela Mae Ursal, Haydee Sepalon, Michael John Sordillo, University of Mindanao Legal Advocacy Network

Last April 8, 2015 was the start of the Summer Internship Program (SIP) 2015 which is offered by the host school, The University of Mindanao Legal Advocacy Network (ULAN). The program was participated by several Law Schools in Mindanao as well as in Palawan and is functioning in partnership with the US Embassy in Manila. The program has two phases: Immersion and Internship.
The four of us coming from the University of Mindanao, wherein 1 is a Law student and 3 are undergraduate social work students, were fortunate enough to be selected and be given the chance to take part for this year’s SIP.
For our immersion, we were tasked to conduct a feasibility program in relation to Women and Gender Issues. We were assigned to different immersion communities, i.e, Samal, Panabo, and Toril. We were grouped into 4-5 members per community. Initially, we were not acquainted enough with our new groupings since we belong to different schools and have different culture and personal habits. However, as days passed by, we got to know each other and began to work easily and comfortably. We were introduced to several public officials and got to know their respective Barangay profiles. We interviewed and evaluated the awareness of actual citizens in our assigned locality about child abuse, battered wife syndrome and VAWC. Further, some of us experienced to be away from our home and family for the first time, introduced to new foods and delicacies and also got to visit places that are distinct to the respective locality. All in all, we were successful in carrying out our main objective to our assigned Barangay.
As for our Internship stint, we were assigned to different Non-Governmental Organizations and were given a new set of group members. With the limited time allotted for our internship we were very grateful that we were able to meet a lot of significant persons in Davao such as several city councilors, head organizers of different NGOs and of course, the infamous and well respected mayor of Davao City, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. We were assigned to TALIKALA, IDIS, DJF and SALIGAN.
In conclusion, what started to be a simple application for our school’s legal aid turned out to be something that was very beneficial to us. We did not only gain qualities and knowledge that will take us far in line with the career that we chose to enter, but as well as a deep respect and appreciation for all those people who constantly push and make time to address issues for the betterment and improvement of our locality without even asking for anything in return. We would recommend to anyone searching for a new educational experience outside the books or wishing to learn more about themselves, to try and join in any legal aid or any available programs offered by their school, as much as possible. Before ending this, we would like to thank everyone who was behind this program and making this experience possible. We are deeply grateful for this chance and would like to continue to participate, continue and enhance what we have learned through this opportunity.


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Liceo Legal Aid Center (LiLAC) doing business under the name and style of Center for Alternative Lawyering of Liceo is the legal aid center of Liceo de Cagayan University, a privately owned university based in Cagayan de oro City. The group is composed of law students, alumni of the College of Law of the University, and lawyers who are passionate in the practice of alternative lawyering. LiLAC is guided by its vision of a holistic formation of law students committed to the transformation of society by promoting justice, empowerment, unity and peace, through helping the marginalized sector of the depressed areas here in Mindanao, in the Philippines and in the world. While the group was registered only this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it has been providing services to marginalized communities in partnership with NGOs for more than 8 years now. LiLAC has more than 50 members, 15 of whom are taking the active role of running the group’s activities.

twitter: twitter.com/liceolegalaid
facebook: fb.com/liceolegalaidrn


The Mindanao State University Legal Aid Clinic or Mindanao SULAC for brevity, is the Legal Aid Clinic of Mindanao State University College of law. It is the first and currently the only one of its kind to be established in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It strives to cater the legal needs of the underprivileged and/or indigent clients of the Region and to help promote the proper administration of justice as a key to lasting peace in the region and in the country as a whole.

Office Address: 1F MSU College of Law Bldg.,
MSU Main Campus, Marawi City 9700 Philippines
Contact details:
Email: mindanaosulac@gmail.com
Mobile No.: (+63) 907 336 7762



The Notre Dame university is a Catholic Institution in Cotabato City run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and member of the Notre Dame Educational Association Philippines.The Notre Dame University Legal Aid Center started sometime in 2009. Its members are the officially enrolled students of NDU-College of Law.

The following are the official pages and e-mail address of the group:
FB: fb.com/ndulac
twitter: twitter.com/ndulac
Instagram: instagram.com/ndulac
email: ndulac@gmail.com


The Palawan Cradle of Rights is a unified composition of law students from Palawan State university school of Law, established last August 26, 2013 after the culminating activity of the Basic Orientation Seminar by the US Embassy in partnership with the MYVC.

Through our linkages and with the help of the different Government and Non-government organizations we aim to provide free access to people who need legal assistance.


The University of Mindanao Legal Aid Network (ULAN) is a non-stock, non-profit, and service institution of the University of Mindanao. As a service institution, it provides legal assistance, advocates human rights and social justice, and facilitates the formation of law students for alternative lawyering. It consists of law students and alumni of the College of Legal Education of the University of Mindanao committed to provide an adequate and greater access to justice of the community through its programs.


The CENTRO ADVOCACIA LEGAL is organized exclusively for charitable, socio-cultural and educational purposes, more specifically to serve the needs of the marginalized communities specifically children and youth and the minorities in Zamboanga City through Legal Aid Assistance and Human Rights Based Advocacies.