THE top official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Western Visayas has urged Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officers (Marpos) in southern Negros Occidental to expedite the implementation of the agrarian reform program before the year ends.

DAR-Western Visayas Regional Director lawyer Sheila Enciso, who led the virtual MARPOs' assessment Friday, June 4, 2021, said agrarian reform officers as early as now must re-strategize and come up with various interventions based on their performance in the first semester.

Enciso said there are a lot of landholdings in the southern part of the province that have the potentials to be completely covered under Carp.

She encouraged DAR leaders especially Marpos to come up with feasible and practicable strategies in order to accomplish huge this year.

"We must strive hard because this program is a social justice agenda of our government for our farmers," the official said, emphasizing "service delayed is justice denied."

Some of the indicators that the Marpos must prioritize included the fast-tracking of the processing of claim folders and the organization of the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) into an agrarian organization or cooperative.

This is to help the farmer-beneficiaries to have the security of tenure and to avail bundles of support services from various government agencies particularly the DAR.

For her part, Assistant Regional Director Lucrecia Taberna admitted that the pandemic has been one of the major factors that hinder the program implementation, not only in Negros Occidental but also in other provinces nationwide.

"It affected us and keeps on affecting us but Covid-19 should not be the reason for the agency to halt its mandates because we are public servants. We are frontliners too who must serve and assist the needs of our ARBs amid this pandemic," Taberna said.

She added that "we do still have ample time to deliver. All we have to do is to focus on our priorities and act with a sense of urgency and with utmost accountability."

During the conference, the statuses of all landholdings were also presented.

These include its problems, issues, and the agency's possible interventions.

Also present were DAR-Western Visayas Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Agrarian Reform Program Officer Ferolyn Joy Timtiman, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Arnulfo Figueroa, OIC Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Officer Melma Hortelano and planning officers of DAR-Negros Occidental II covering from Bago City to Hinobaan town.