Press Releases

On the bicam approval of imperfect land titles measure by Rep. Salceda

May 12th, 2021

Salceda measure to clean up imperfect land titles gets bicam committee nod; House tax chair says measure will help farmers, households secure rights to property

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that the bicameral conference committee on the disagreeing provisions of House Bill No. 7440 and Senate Bill No. 1931 signed today committee’s report on the Imperfect Land Title Confirmation Act. The measure seeks to improve the confirmation of imperfect titles by simplifying the procedure and requirements in granting land deeds. Salceda is a principal author and sponsor of the measure.

“Small farmers suffer the most from having their titles unconfirmed. They don’t have the money to litigate or undergo complex processes, and they can’t use their land or sell them in the meantime. It’s like they don’t own their lands,” Salceda said.

“This measure will help small farmers and homesteaders. It makes it easier for them to get everything from borrowing capital from banks, to leasing their land to more efficient users, to earning income from their property,” Salceda added.

The present law governing land titles in the country requires the claimant to present a copy of the original classification approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary, as well as a City or Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO/PENRO) certification, that should be accompanied by an official publication of the DENR Secretary’s issuance declaring that the land is alienable and disposable.

These requirements can be difficult to secure given strict conditions and processes in the courts.

The approved bicameral report requires the DENR and the CENRO to act on petitions for agricultural free patents within 120 days. The DENR Secretary’s approval is only required for lands above twenty hectares, and the requirement for a proclamation by the DENR Secretary of a time period during which CENROs and PENROs are allowed to take applications for free patents is also removed. This means that PENROs and CENROs can now take such petitions year-round.

The report also harmonizes and shortens the period of possession required for perfection of imperfect titles from 74 years to 20 years.

The law also allows “those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned riverbeds by right of accession or accretion under the provision of existing laws” to file petitions to the regional trial courts (RTC) for perfection of their claims.

“Informal settlers who have been residing on their lands for so long now also have a chance to own their property. This is a matter of dignity for thousands of Filipino families,” Salceda said.

“Property rights, especially for the small property owner, is very important in equitable development. When people feel more secure in their rights to their property, they tend to develop it more aggressively. We need farmers and small landholders to use their lands efficiently as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This reform is crucial for agricultural and economic recovery,” Salceda added.

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