Duterte signs law improving confirmation process for land titles


PRESIDENT Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11573 improving the confirmation process for land titles. 

The new law, which Duterte signed last July 16, 2021 but was only released to the media last Wednesday, amended the Public Land Act and amended the Presidential Decree No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree.

It aims to “simplify, update, and harmonize similar and related provisions of land laws in order remove ambiguity in its implementation and interpretation.” 

RA 11573 stipulates only natural-born citizens of the Philippines may file for an agricultural free patent for a land not more than 12 hectares. 

The applicant must have continuously occupied and cultivated the tract or tracts of alienable and disposable agricultural public lands either personally or through predecessor-in-interest, and paid the real estate tax for it, to qualify for the said patent. 

The patent will be filed before the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In case a province has no CENRO, the application could be filed with the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO). 

The offices which got the application will have 120 days to process it before it is forwarded to the concerned agencies: PENRO if the area of the land is below five hectares; DENR Regional Director if the area is at least 5 up to 10 hectares; Secretary of DENR of the areas of the land is more than 10 hectares up to 12 hectares. 

The concerned offices will have five days to approve or disapprove the applications.    

In case there is conflict over a tract or tracts of land, the parties involved may seek administrative and judicial remedies. 

The new law also contained provisions for addressing the concerns of people with imperfect or incomplete titles; and those who may automatically register a title. 

It also imposed penalty ranging from P100,000 to P500,000 as well as imprisonment of not less than six months, but not exceeding six years, on geodetic engineers and DENR officials, who shall commit illegal acts in certifying and approving projection map. 

The DENR will issue the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for RA 11573 within 60 days from its effectivity.

The law will take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

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