March 3, 2004
DAR MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 04-04
TO : All DAR Officials and Employees
SUBJECT : Adopting and Directing an Open Door Policy and Implementing Accessibility
and Transparency in the Department of Agrarian Reform
Section 7, Article III of the Constitution recognizes the sacred right of people to information on matters of public concern, and to have access to official records and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. Section 28, Article II of the Constitution further provides that "the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest." More importantly, Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and its Implementing Rules and Regulations provide detailed guidelines on the policy of accessibility and transparency. ICTDEa
Despite these clear policy pronouncements, legitimate agrarian reform beneficiaries and other stakeholders have expressed concern over the inaccessibility and lack of transparency in the Department. Problems of inaccessibility and lack of transparency consist mainly in the difficulty in obtaining access to public records, information and data, as well as in availing of the services of the Department. Addressing this concern will rebuild the confidence of these stakeholders in the Department's sincerity and capability to effectively and efficiently respond to their needs. In line with these, the following guidelines are hereby promulgated:
1. All officials and employees are hereby enjoined to implement an open door policy allowing farmers and other stakeholders of agrarian reform, to freely enter in the DAR premises for purposes of requesting or availing the services of the Department, without exercising any form of discrimination or imposing undue requirements, and giving full support to their constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and express their grievances. The utilization of dialogues with the stakeholders in the spirit of principled partnership shall be maximized to resolve such grievances.
2. Subject to such limitations as may be provided by law or by rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, all official records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as research data used as basis for policy development of the Department of Agrarian Reform shall be made accessible to the public.
3. Subject to such limitations as may be provided by law or by rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, all official records, documents and papers pertaining to Agrarian Law Implementation cases, and cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board shall be made accessible to any person or group making such request.
4. All officials and employees are hereby enjoined to observe the provisions of R.A. No. 6713 particularly the following:
"SECTION 5. Duties of Public Officials and Employees. — In the performance of their duties, all public officials and employees are under obligation to:
(a) Act promptly on letters and requests. — All public officials and employees shall, within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request. . . .
(d) Act immediately on the public's personal transactions. — All public officials and employees must attend to anyone who wants to avail himself [sic] of the services of their offices and must, at all times, act promptly and expeditiously. TDcHCa
(e) Make documents accessible to the public. — All public documents must be made accessible to, and readily available for inspection by, the public within reasonable working hours."
For immediate and strict compliance.
Done in Diliman, Quezon City, 03 March 2004.
(SGD.) JOSE MARI B. PONCE