I started this blog October 30, 2005 and last Saturday, my website tracker (Sitemeter.com) reported that some 700,000+ visitors from 81 countries have now browsed this site.
The numbers are gratifying for any blogger but they do not really represent the number of people who have actually or beneficially used this blog. We have to consider factors such as bounce rates, time spent on site, number of pages viewed, etc. Also, I use two trackers, Google Analytics and Sitemeter, which work in different ways and thus report different statistics.
The service I provide in this blog and in my Family Matters website is free legal information and Biblical counseling. As I told one person who e-mailed me, what is legal is not always Biblical, and what is Biblical is not always legal. In my website and blogs however, what is Biblical will always take precedence.
Do not depend on “legal information” found in chat rooms or online forums
Despite this milestone for this blog, three things sadden me:
One, I have stumbled upon chat rooms or online forums for OFWs, single parents, etc. and I am amazed at the tremendous amount of misinformation about legal matters I found in these forums. The problem is that people in these chat rooms, rather than inquiring from lawyers, rely on each other and on people who pretend to know the law. It does not matter whether a person has gone to law school or does good research on legal topics. Answering people’s questions about legal matters is considered as “practice of law” (as the Supreme Court ruled in the case involving the late Sen. Rene Cayetano and former COMELEC chairman Christian Monsod). The practice of law is reserved only for those who have passed the bar exams and are in good standing with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Some people in chat rooms and online forums also copy and paste from my blog posts without giving any credit. For example, portions of my post “Can nephews and nieces inherit from their grandparents, unmarried aunts or uncles?” were posted verbatim without any attribution in an online forum. (Click the image to the left so you can compare my blog post and what was posted in the forum.)
If you do have legal questions, you should inquire from lawyers directly or from government offices. I have listed in a tab below this blog’s title graphic the contact information of government offices where you can get free legal assistance. For example, you can ask for free legal help from the Department of Justice Action Center (DOJAC). It acts on complaints, requests for assistance and legal queries of walk-in clients of the DOJ. For legal assistance please visit the Department of Justice Action Center (DOJAC) Main Office, Ground Floor, Multi-Purpose Building, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila; Telephone no: 523-84-81; Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit any Regional/Provincial/City Prosecution Offices in your town or city.
You can also try asking for free legal help or information from the following:
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) chapter offices in your town or city, usually located in the Hall of Justice
- OLA (Office of Legal Aid) of the UP College of Law; Room 107, Malcolm Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, 1101; Tel. No. 927-6260; Trunkline: 920-5514 local 120, 121; Telefax: 920-5514 loc. 106; Office Hours: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm; 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
- Legal Aid Bureau of the San Beda College of Law in Mendiola, Manila
- CJ Roberto Concepcion Legal Aid Clinic of the UST Institute of Civil Law, Espana, Manila; contact number: local 8349, direct 732-3045 (main UST trunklines 406-1611)
- Sebastinian Office of Legal Aid, San Sebastian College Institute of Law; contact tel. no. 734-8931 local 312
- Commission on Human Rights chapter offices
Three, there are more people who visit this blog rather than my Salt and Light blog on how to build strong relationships, marriages and families. Compared to this blog, my SL blog is limping along with only 51,000+ visitors since December 2005. It seems that there are more people who want to know about how to end their marriage than people concerned about building stronger marriages.
I remember Valentine’s Day five years ago. I received an e-mail from a woman, competent and highly successful in her profession. The problem was, her professional success had led to the breakdown of her marriage because her husband had become totally insecure. The question she desperately asked me was, “Is there hope for my marriage?” I spent the whole afternoon of that Valentine’s Day answering the e-mail, assuring her that yes, there was still hope for her marriage.
My hope is that more people will browse my Salt and Light blog and learn how to reclaim their marriage and rebuild their family. Some of my favorite articles are Lessons in love and life from Miriam Quiambao, Emotional word pictures as a communication tool for increasing intimacy between husbands and wives, and Men are terrible mind readers ...
I also hope that that those of you going through various marital difficulties will try to get hold and watch Kirk Cameron's movie on relationships; you can watch the YouTube trailer above. (Read more About FIREPROOF; surf to the FIREPROOF blog).
About FIREPROOF, the movie
At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules.
Growing up, Catherine Holt always dreamed of marrying a loving, brave firefighter...just like her daddy. Now, after seven years of marriage, Catherine wonders when she stopped being "good enough" for her husband.
Regular arguments over jobs, finances, housework, and outside interests have readied them both to move on to something with more sparks.
As the couple prepares to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day experiment: "The Love Dare." Wondering if it's even worth the effort, Caleb agrees-for his father's sake more than for his marriage. When Caleb discovers the book's daily challenges are tied into his parents' newfound faith, his already limited interest is further dampened.
While trying to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and again. He finally asks his father, "How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?"
When his father explains that this is the love Christ shows to us, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And so with God's help he begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife.
But is it too late to fireproof his marriage? His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever...rescuing his wife's heart.