MANILA, Sept 9 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has vowed to speed up the resolution of pending agrarian reform cases by hiring additional lawyers to review disputes.

(Department of Agrarian Reform Logo)

DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III, in a statement issued on Thursday, said this is part of the department’s compliance with the mandate of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to provide social justice and free the farmers from the bondage of the soil.

Estrella revealed that DAR is experiencing a shortage of lawyers that will review agrarian reform disputes pending under the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) and the Agrarian Law Implementation (ALI).

“The DAR will encourage more lawyers to join the team to help us review pending cases, conduct fast-tracking activities, and enhance its legal case monitoring system,” he said.

From 1988 to June 2022, Estrella said the DARAB has received 640,807 caseloads.

Of the number, some 638,445 have already been adjudicated, with 2,362 cases still pending.

Meanwhile, the DAR received a total of 945,875 caseloads under the ALI cases from 1993 to June 2022.

A total of 943,584 ALI cases have been resolved, leaving a balance of 2,291 pending cases.

Estrella explained that they may not be able to resolve all the cases and achieve zero-backlog immediately, still, he stressed DAR’s commitment “to provide a higher percentage of solving pending cases”.

“It is very hard to hire competent and topnotch lawyers who can assist the DAR to resolve its pending cases. Our game plan is to do a scrap and build scheme. We will abolish vacant positions so that we can create positions to offer bigger salaries to the lawyers,” he said. (MNS)