The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has provided free legal services to 116 farmers from the towns of Mamburao, Paluan, and Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro.
The three-day program, called “Lawyers to the Benepisyaryo,” involved DAR lawyers personally visiting the farmers to hear their concerns and offer legal advice.
According to DAR Regional Director Marvin Bernal, the program was launched during the Covid-19 pandemic when farmers had difficulty going to DAR offices to seek legal advice. With the “Lawyers to the Benepisyaryo” program, DAR lawyers brought free legal assistance to the farmers’ municipalities to help them with agrarian reform-related issues.
Aside from the free-legal service, the Agrarian Reform Justice on Wheels (ARJOW) program was also brought to the farmers of Occidental Mindoro.
“We will also provide these free-legal services to the rest of the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region throughout the year,” Bernal said.
During the consultation, the farmers raised issues such as land size and marker placement in their area. Among the topics discussed were retention, mediation, compulsory arbitration, and the rights and obligations of farmer-beneficiaries.
DAR Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III promised to bring the government closer to the people and the free-legal services are part of that commitment.
The DAR continues to utilize aggressive alternative dispute resolution techniques in mediation to reduce conflicts from maturing into court cases.