AN Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADRs) mechanism will be rolled out more widely after it was piloted in land disputes, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in a statement.

“Although all the cases subjected to ADR pertain to land sector only, the ADR Officer’s expertise is DENR-wide and not in land alone. That’s why in 2022 we aim to roll out the ADR mechanism to other sectors,” LMB Director Emelyne V. Talabis said.

Ms. Talabis said that matters dealing with ADR are not focused on land alone, even though the agency most practiced in dealing with ADRs is the Land Management Bureau (LMB).

In 2016, guidelines on the adoption of the ADR mechanism were issued covering land management and disposition, where they were implemented by 2018.

Since then, 1,020 cases were referred to ADR, with some 281 cases under proceedings.

A total of 739 ADR cases were mediated, with 321 disputes or 43% to the total being settled. The remaining 418 failed to reach a settlement.

“43% is quite an accomplishment and a big leap from the almost zero settlements we had before the adoption of the ADR mechanism in LMB,” Ms. Talabis said.

The proposal is pursuant to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004 and DENR Administrative Order 2005-18, which calls for the adoption of the ADR procedures in the resolution of conflict.

The DENR legal affairs office said it does not encourage litigation when dealing with land disputes, as it is often costly and tedious.

“We leverage the environment and natural resources to foster sustained peace instead of litigiousness among stakeholders,” DENR Assistant Secretary Michelle D. Go said. “Sustained peace will hasten the attainment of the development objectives of the department which will definitely have a ripple effect on the societal goals of inclusive growth and poverty reduction.”

DENR Regional Offices in Regions II, V, VI, X, and the Cordillera Administrative Region were among the first to institutionalize the ADR mechanism in their jurisdictions.

The comprehensive ADR accreditation training program has continued through online platforms over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson