QUEZON CITY – AGRARIAN Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones became the toast of the DAR community on Friday, May 25 following the oath-taking of 494 newly promoted and appointed employees from the central office to the field offices in various parts of the country, the culmination of the five-year rationalization plan that was marked with confusion and uncertainty.
Calling them the “heroes of the country’s land reform program,” Castriciones presided the oath-taking of the newly promoted employees at the DAR Gymnasium in Quezon City.
Castriciones urged them to carry on with their tasks of distributing farm lands and delivering support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries to the best of their abilities to uplift the farmer-beneficiaries’ standards of living and spur rural development.
He also implored them “to be selfless and be not afraid to sacrifice and even put their lives on the line, if necessary, in our efforts to address the social ills and injustices in the countryside.”
“Being the catalysts of change, the instruments of justice and the servants of the Filipino people, the more you should be motivated to carry out your sacred duties and obligations without fear or favor as mandated under the country’s agrarian reform law,” the DAR chief stressed.
Undersecretary for Finance, Management and Administration Emily Padilla called it a “D-Day” and a “milestone in the lives of the newly promoted and appointed DAR employees” for their dedication and patience, giving their all despite the misgivings brought about by the aborted rationalization plan (RatPlan).
“For the longest time, they have waited for this very moment when their dreams (finally) become a reality,” Padilla said.
The DAR’s RatPlan actually commenced in August 2013 after having been suspended due to uncertainties brought about by the then near expiration of the five-year Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (CARPer) Law.
The law eventually expired in June 2014 and, as if serving as a portent of what to come, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) rejected the DAR’s RatPlan a month later for setting aside the Memorandum Circular No. 3, which calls for the placement of affected personnel to comparable positions before undertaking any promotions for deserving employees.
Leo Mabansag said he is grateful to the new administration of Secretary Castriciones and to President Duterte for making their dreams come true. Mabansag was promoted to municipal agrarian reform program officer (Marpo) for the clustered towns of San Julian and Sulat, Eastern Samar.
“It took us five years, all in all, before our prayers were answered. But it’s worth it. I would say that the invalidation of our promotions brought pains to me and fellow DAR employees, but it only made us even stronger in our resolve to fulfill our duties and obligations to our clientele, both the farmer-beneficiaries and the landowners and other agrarian advocates,” Mabansag said.
Samuel Sesio, who was also promoted to Marpo for the clustered towns of Balangkayan, Maydolong and Llorente also in Eastern Samar, admired the strong political will of the administration of Secretary Castriciones for doing in only five months what his predecessors had failed to do for years – the long awaited promotions.
“Finally, the waiting is over. Now, we can go back to work and work with peace of mind,” Sesio said.
Lucille Mabanua-Busud was also ecstatic with her promotion from senior agrarian reform program officer to chief agrarian reform program officer of Isabela, serving as one of the deputies of the provincial agrarian reform program officer (Parpo) II.
“I’m very happy that finally we got our long overdue promotions. Hopefully, this is it, that this will not be recalled again as what had happened in the past,” Busud said.
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