By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
To encourage its legal offices to address pending land reform cases, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has awarded this year’s best performing legal offices in the country.
“These awards are given in recognition of their efforts and exemplary performance in resolving legal agrarian cases of farmers and in implementing agrarian reform matters,” DAR Secretary John Castriciones said.
“Resolving cases, mediation, and legal representation are among the legal services we give our agrarian reform beneficiaries for free. We are stepping up our legal strategies and streamlining our legal procedures to help more farmers,” he added.
Castriciones earlier asked its regional officials to be creative and innovative in addressing critical land reform concerns.
DAR’s legal services has two major components, namely the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) and the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance (BALA).
DARAB is a quasi-judicial body that determines and adjudicates all agrarian reform matters involving implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture.
BALA, meanwhile, deals with dispensing rules over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform.
DAR recognized the top five best performing regional offices for achieving a zero backlog of pending agrarian cases in their dockets.
These regions are the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), MIMAROPA (Region 4B), CALABARZON (Region 4A), Caraga, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Meanwhile, the top five regions with the highest number of cases resolved were awarded to Central Luzon, Caraga, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Cagayan Valley.
CAR, Zamboanga Peninsula and MIMAROPA were awarded for their outstanding work in performing all legal functions, such as land conversion, cancellation of cases, case resolution, etc.
A special citation was also given to legal officers for their outstanding contribution, leadership and unwavering commitment in implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
Castriciones asked its legal offices to implement agrarian reform laws to aid in fighting for farmers’ rights and expediting agrarian legal cases.