DAR legal aid to farmers boosts agrarian justice delivery

on . Posted in Online News
business mirrorVARIOUS programs that provide farmers legal assistance boosts agrarian justice delivery under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), an official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said on Thursday.
Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said among the major programs and projects launched by the DAR this year is the Web-based Legal Case Monitoring System (LCMS).

LCMS, described by Parungao as “a first of its kind scale and complexion in government service,” provides a central storage of legal case records, and accordingly designed to be an efficient means of capturing data with its multiuse features, including built-in word processors, accessibility over the Internet and utilization of barcode technology to ensure easy tracking and integrity of documents.

The LCMS records and allows the efficient monitoring of the various kinds of agrarian administrative cases pending with the DAR’s provincial, regional and central offices, including agrarian disputes and special cases lodged before the DAR’s Adjudicators’ courts, as well as cases where DAR lawyers represent and defend clients before the courts, and quasi-judicial bodies.

The LCMS also enables the DAR’s top management to track the movement of specific or high-profile cases, and have real-time detailed reports on the status of all cases, anywhere in the country.

Through LCMS, the DAR’s top management can generate summaries that can be accessed anywhere by any authorized personnel, and lawyers and legal officers on the other to, likewise, use the system itself with its pro-forma templates; Facebook-style features, Global Search tool, and ability to automatically print Registered Return Cards (RRC) for documents that need to be registered in the postal office, along with mail labels for envelopes, among many others.

“The LCMS is not just a comprehensive database; it is also a management and planning tool, a personnel performance indicator, and a new Web-based work sharing or work coaching environment, all rolled into one,” he said.

LCMS complements the continued operationalization of the DAR’s Legal Information System (LIS), an electronic “legal library” containing all agrarian-reform laws, jurisprudence, administrative issuances, course outlines, articles, templates and related materials that can be accessed through the Internet.

The DAR LIS is also the first of its kind in the executive branch of the government, on account of the sheer volume of uploaded internal agrarian reform-related documents, with over 12,000 issuances; an internal search engine which is site-specific; customized search templates for the web site, full-text search capability; and the linking of cited issuances found in the body of the documents themselves.

Also, the DAR’s Program Beneficiary Development (PBD) Lawyering Program launched in 81 provinces, otherwise known as the Enterprise Lawyering Program, provides a unique training intervention aimed at developing the skills of agrarian-reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and their organizations. The training aims to help them access credit facilities and manage their farms as business enterprises, through the assistance of DAR’s legal officers and support services personnel who shall comprise the PBD Lawyering Teams in the provincial level, serving as “learning coaches” in various aspects such as documentation, contract negotiation, governance and technical assistance, financial literacy, awareness of the regulatory environment and possible models of agricultural business enterprises, risk mitigation, creation of growth opportunities and capturing private investments.

Parungao said the first batch of six-week training sessions nationwide was conducted from December 2012 to April 2013, with the following modules: Module 1—Revisiting PBD Thrust and Directions; Module 2—Exploring the Business and Regulatory Environment; Module 3—Successful Models and Ideation for Cooperative-Managed Agri-Based Enterprises; Module 4—Understanding the Building Blocks of Financial Viability and Growth; and Module 5—Crafting Technical Assistance Plan and Team Coaching for Selected Priority ARB organizations.

Parungao said the training program was unique in the sense that the combined expertise and experiences of the DAR’s legal and support services offices were harnessed to enhance the legal and support services on access to credit of ARBs and their organizations.

The Exceptional Caseload Management Performance Statistics marked the lowest ending balance of 1,421 cases by the DAR Adjudication Board Central Office in the last 15 years.

As of the end of November 2013, the Legal Sector has already accomplished 90 percent of its targets approved by the Department of Budget Management for representation work in courts and quasi-judicial agencies, and 91 percent for Agrarian Law Implementation cases inclusive of referral matters, cancellation cases, land transfers and land-use cases.

With respect to Adjudication (DARAB), the accomplishments as of the end of October 2013 were 92 percent from the field regional and provincial adjudicators nationwide and 85.74 percent over-all, he said. (by Jonathan L. Mayuga, 26 Dec 2013)

Source: http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/24941-dar-legal-aid-to-farmers-boosts-agrarian-justice-delivery