Operations of DAR adjudicating bodies still suspended in ECQ areas

MANILA: Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones announced recently that operations of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) remain suspended in areas still placed by Malacanang under “enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)” because of high risk to the Novel Coronavirus 19.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte extended a second time the lockdown period up to May 15 this year in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, which is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon, the provinces of Pangasinan, Benguet, Albay, Cebu, the islands of Panay and Mindoro, and Davao City.

Earlier, Duterte placed Luzon and some areas of the country under ECQ for one month, from March 15 to April 15, 2020, and extended it up to April 30, 2020.

In compliance to the second ECQ extension, Castriciones issued Memorandum Circular No. 13 dated April 27, 2020, stating that: “The office of the DAR Adjudication Board members and the regional and provincial adjudicators in the said areas shall continually be closed for the duration of the further extended ECQ until May 15, 2020.”

On the other hand, DAR adjudicating offices in the provinces and cities deemed to have low to moderate risk to Covid (Coronavirus disease) 19 cases, as well as those outside the quarantined zones shall be of service in their “new normal operation” under the “general community quarantine” and in conformity with measures adopted by concerned local government units.

The DAR chief said that all mandatory mediation conferences and hearings that were scheduled between March 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020 by the DARAB in areas still under ECQ are “continually suspended and reset.” The date is subject for further notice.

Castriciones said the reglamentary period for the filing of pleadings, motions, position and other relevant papers , as well as, for the rendition of judgment, motions and orders is reset anew, to run starting on May 18, 2020 based on the actual balance as of March 15, 2020.

He added that the DARAB central office, through its Secretariat, shall start receiving transmittal of records on appeal on May 18, 2020.

Castriciones stressed in his circular that the sectorial deadline to resolve all pending 2019 received cases is rescheduled again, from June 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020.

“This means all adjudicators, including those in quarantined areas, will continue drafting decisions, resolutions and orders, be it at the office or at home,” the DAR Secretary said. (DAR)

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