THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Occidental-South has assured the improvement on the delivery of its frontline services in a bid to obtain International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accreditation next year.

Its Officer-In-Charge Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Arnulfo Figueroa, in a statement, said the agency is almost done in conducting all preparatory and capability development activities required for ISO certification.

These include gap assessment, organization of Quality Management System (QMS) team, the establishment of quality policies and objectives, conduct of ISO-QMS awareness training and writeshop and packaging of ISO-QMS Manual.

"To complete the required preliminary activities, we will conduct our training for our Internal Quality Auditors and Document Controllers where we have invited an accredited consultancy firm to train our identified personnel on December 9 and 10," Figueroa said.

He added that the agency is expected to fully implement the required standards and core processes in relation to the delivery of frontline services next year after the official release of the approved ISO-QMS Manual.

"For now, in order to ensure that we are really prepared for this quest, we have to prepare our personnel in each division and DAR municipal offices where we are currently cascading our proposed ISO-based core processes and reviewing our Citizen's Charter," the official said.

On Friday, November 27, the agency has already conducted the strategic planning workshop with personnel of the Support To Operations Division (Stod) at Nature's Village Resort in Talisay City.

Chief Administrative Officer Leony Lamela said the activity aims to identify and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the agency's administration to come up with solid strategies to enhance the delivery of its frontline services by 2021.

"The Stod is playing a crucial role in our pursuit for ISO accreditation since the admin personnel is our backbone to deliver our major final outputs effectively and efficiently," Lamela said, adding that "before anything else, the enhancement of the frontline services must start from the admin group considering that the operations division serves as the direction of human and material resources to achieve the agency's desired goals."

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I Enrique Paderes lauded the DAR for introducing various innovations and initiatives to boost its public rapport despite the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

"We are now on the right track in terms of strengthening our ties with the public through strong information dissemination and public awareness," he said, stressing that "we have come up with different alternatives and approaches to keep in touch with our agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and to keep the public well-informed despite the present pandemic."

Some of these innovations include the launching of an alternative training module dubbed as Arbold Komiks in July, its newest newsletter dubbed The Southern Echo in November, and official Youtube channel of the agency called PCG Agraryo Dokumentaryo in November.

"Aside from our Information, Education and Communication Unit, we are also planning to establish our separate Human Resource Unit which will focus on providing interventions and training to boost and develop the performance and behavior of our personnel towards work and public service," Paderes said.

He expressed optimism that with these strategies and innovations, the agency will become ISO-QMS certified next year.