LMB moves to strengthen implementation of land laws, policies and surveying and titling activities
The Land Management Bureau (LMB), in its goal to provide efficient and effective land titling, has been pushing for amendments to existing land laws and strengthening implementation of policies in response to issues on land administration and management within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and regional offices.
The High Level Policy Consultation conducted on April 27 to 28, 2022 is an avenue to propose solutions to pressing concerns on land survey and titling activities.
In his message, Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo emphasized the importance of land ownership and recalled the writings of renowned Hernando de Soto (Hidden Capital). He mentioned that the key to maximize government shares in land market activities is for the government to focus its effort in completing land titling and recognition of tenures. This starts with revisiting antiquated land laws including Commonwealth Act 141 or the Public Land Act.
CA 141 is considered as the mother law for all other policies related to land titling. Various provisions in the said law need updates for it to be responsive to the current challenges in the land sector. Subsequent laws, such as the Civil Code of 1950, the Forestry Code of 1975, and the Philippine Constitution of 1987, have provisions that have significant amendments to the Public Land Act.
Apart from the Public Land Act, the LMB is also proposing to revise the DENR’s policy on foreshore management (DAO 2004-21), and the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Act.
LMB Director Emelyne Talabis said that this consultation is needed to determine the best courses of action on specific operational issues and identify strategies in accelerating land titling in the country in the next 1o years.
Undersecretary Benito de Leon also stressed the importance of establishing a dedicated office to focus on law enforcement for violators of policies and guidelines such as forest protection and easement recovery.
“ Law enforcement has been very difficult for field personnel as they have their own concerns with land. With the gathering of minds during the activity, workable policies should be determined,” De Leon said.
Identification of lands for housing was also brought up, as there are many lands owned by the government that are considered idle.
The proposed policy revisions were presented by LMB Chiefs Alex Pascua, Marlou Alutaya, and Henry Pacis.
Other than the proposals, updates were presented by the LMB, including Republic Act No. 11573, which improves confirmation of imperfect land titles by removing the deadline or filing for Agricultural Free Patent applications, and shortening the required years of possession from 20 to 30 years.
It is expected that these proposals are incorporated in the Land Sector Development Framework (LSDF), which was enhanced for all government agencies to lay the groundwork for land administration and management until 2040. Mr. Pacis expressed LMB’s intention to adopt this into the highest policy level possible.
One of the outputs stated in the LSDF, the 2022-2031 Land Administration Management System: Philippines (LAMS Ph), was presented by its National Coordinating Desk Head Ariel Reyes. Its roadmap starts with the completion of data capture; cleansing of the Digital Cadastral Database (DCDB); development, installation and implementation of e-LAMS; leading to the implementation of paperless web-based transactions.
The consultation ended with a comprehensive discussion of the National Land Titling Program (NLTP) by Assistant Chief Gina Pascua. This includes the status of land titling, its strategies and expected outcomes, and the proposed budget. It is planned to be completed by the end of 2031. It can be recalled that LMB proposed the program, for possible funding starting this year 2022 (see https://www.denr.gov.ph/index.php/news-events/press-releases/3464-denr-lmb-vows-to-further-improve-land-titling-system-in-ph-in-2022)