Camarines Sur paralegals on the rise
SALIGAN-Bikol, a consortium member of the Paralegal Education, Skills Advancement and Networking Technology (PESANTEch), in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), trained farmers as paralegals to implement the Paralegal Development Program in the province of Camarines Sur. The main objective of the project is to provide access to legal services of farming communities and in the process speed up land acquisition and distribution (LAD) for agrarian reform beneficiaries.
SALIGAN - Bikol trained 37 paralegals from thirteen municipalities with high LAD balance. The farmer-beneficiaries and BARC chairmen who were selected as paralegal were thoroughly screened and trained. The paralegal training was conducted in March 5-8, 2012. During the training, they were taught the principles of paralegalism and their roles in the community, and the substantive laws relating to agrarian reform and new issuances of the DAR. They were also equipped with different skills of a paralegal, such as case analysis, conducting legal interviews, affidavit-writing and casebrief-making.
The second component of the project is the conduct of legal clinics and tactic sessions. SALIGAN – Bikol conducted two (2) legal clinics and tactic sessions for the province with the support of the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Information and Education (BARIE) and Field Operations Office (FOO) with DAR Region V and Camarines Sur on May 24-25, 2012 and July 26-27, 2012, respectively.
During the clinic sessions, the paralegals shared their experiences in the community and reported their accomplishments based on their action plans. With the two-day activity, SALIGAN assisted and facilitated the paralegals in finding solutions to address community issues and how they can contribute to the resolution of problematic landholdings. Through the legal clinics, the paralegals were able to polish their skills and deepen their understanding of the law.
The last component is the monitoring of progress of the paralegals in terms of implementing their plans and notable changes in the area, if any. Saligan-Bikol, together with DAR, visited ten (10) municipalities to ensure effective implementation of the project. Significantly, in the municipality of Sagnay, in cooperation with the office of Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer, two paralegals were able to facilitate the oath taking of 23 farmer-beneficiaries on June 29, 2012 in Bragais property covering an area of 33 hectares. In Ocampo, Camarines Sur , the paralegals also facilitated the subdivision of a portion of Consolacion Mison property and installation of 21 farmer-beneficiaries in the same property.
Through these modest efforts and gains of the project, empowering the community and mainstreaming their participation remains to be a viable mechanism in the effective implementation of agrarian reform not only in Camarines Sur but also in the whole country.
 Bula, Cabusao, Del Gallego, Libmanan, Lupi, Ragay, Sipocot, Calabanga, Ocampo, Pili, Sagnay, Tigaon, and Tinambac.