The Department of Agrarian Reform in Western Visayas delivered the highest number of cases resolved at 3,717 in the first half of 2020, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The DAR reported that after its legal sector accomplished a zero case backlog last year, it came up with satisfactory performance in the first half of 2020, for resolving 14,372 cases out of the 18,124 agrarian law implementation cases received, marking a 79.3 percent accomplishment rating.
Aside from DAR 6, those with the highest number of cases resolved are Soccsksargen or Region 12 with 1,584 cases, Calabarzon Region 4-A, 1,065 cases, and Northern Mindanao in Region 10 with 928 cases.
The DAR 2 in Cagayan Valley was adjudged the most efficient and competent for resolving 972 out of 980 cases received, for a near-perfect accomplishment rating of 99.18 percent, the department said.
DAR Ilocos Region 1 resolved 517 out of 526 cases received for a 98.29 percent accomplishment rating, Calabarzon Region 4-A, 1,065 of 1,095 cases (97.26 percent), Caraga, 582 out of 605 cases (96.2 percent); and Zamboanga Peninsula in Region 9, 805 out of 857 cases (93.82 percent).
While the number of cases resolved is a far cry from the department’s ambitious target of a hundred-percent accomplishment rating, DAR Secretary John Castriciones said it is in itself something to boast about, considering the abnormal working condition the DAR legal sector had found itself as a result of the continued Covid-19 crisis.
He explained that the flow of work was severely affected since March 15 when the government placed Luzon and many parts of the country under the enhanced community quarantine.
“The filing of pertinent legal documents and the conduct of hearings had been suspended repeatedly until the government relaxed the community quarantine a bit last June 1,” Castriciones said.
The resolution of agrarian law implementation cases refers to the administrative resolution of all agrarian-related disputes through the lawyers and legal officers of DAR.
It also covers the formulation of guidelines, plans, and programs for the effective delivery of free legal assistance and counseling for the clientele, investigation of cases, review of recommendations, and preparation of orders, decisions, and resolutions on matters involving agrarian disputes.
Meanwhile, the DAR-Negros Occidental 2 distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award and installed 20 farmer-beneficiaries in La Castellana recently, its press release said.
The new landowners will divide the 23.5763-hectare property in Barangay Masulog in the town that was formerly owned by Generoso Jalandoni.
Mila Alejado, municipal agrarian reform program officer, led the CLOA distribution and said at the installation rites that the landholding was covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform, through compulsory acquisition.
“The program includes one of the DAR’s core functions which is to provide land tenure security to landless farmers and farmworkers through the land acquisition and distribution involving the redistribution of government and private agricultural lands,” Alejado said.
Along with this privilege of owning the land from the government are the duties of the agrarian reform beneficiaries under the law, such as payment of their land taxes and amortizations to the Land Bank of the Philippines and to refrain from engaging in prohibited acts, such as the selling and leasing of their CARP-awarded lands, she added.
Efren Tan, senior agrarian reform program technologist, encouraged the ARBs to form their own cooperative in order to avail of support services from the DAR and other government agencies.*PR/PNA