DENR cuts backlog of cases, taps mediation

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    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it has reduced its backlog of cases by 62 percent over the course of one year.

    A report of the DENR Legal Affairs Service (LAS) showed the number of pending cases has dropped to 559 in January 2019 from a high of 1,482 in January 2018.

    Of the 559 cases, 193 are with the Legal Research and Opinion Division; 127 with the Claims and Conflicts Division; 97 with the Litigation and Prosecution Division; and 9 with the Investigation and Arbitration Division.

    Another 133 pending cases are with the Zero Backlog Task Force whose duty is to dispose of cases filed in or before 1999 .

    In a statement, LAS said DENR disposition of cases was fasttracked by an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism.

    Almost 90 percent of the cases involve land disputes and parties are among relatives or neighbors.

    The ADR taps a neutral third party and is implemented in the community and provincial levels. The DENR rolls out training activities nationwide for non-lawyer personnel who serve as ADR officers (ADROs) and who become mediators.

    A total of 157 ADROs have been accredited after passing rigorous trainings and 64 more are expected to be added after completion of their training programs this month, the DENR said