Odessa Sta.Maria, The Philippines
I am part of an alternative law group in the Philippines called Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (Alternative Legal Assistance Center) or SALIGAN. My work focuses on the use of law to protect marginalised sectors such as women, peasants and the urban poor. This involves precedent-setting litigation, advocacy work, paralegal formation in the countryside, and research.
I represent women in court cases on domestic abuse. I also serve as counsel for farmers’ groups for land, health and environmental cases - the most recent one being a case to put a stop to the aerial spraying of pesticides on banana planting communities. This sparked my research interest in demanding greater corporate accountability for human rights abuses in the third world.