DENR gives out land titles to Batangas folk

Nineteen (19) residents of Batangas City are now proud land owners, following their receipt of free patents under the land titling project being jointly undertaken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the city government.

The residents, most of whom have been waiting for their land titles for decades, received the instruments at a ceremony held at the Batangas City Hall recently. The undertaking was part of continued efforts by the DENR to deliver full ownership of land titles to thousands of residents across the city, through the agency’s “Handog Titulo” program.

In February 2013, DENR Calabarzon regional executive director Reynulfo Juan and Batangas City Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha forged an agreement that aims to improve land administration and management, particularly on land survey and titling, and provide more efficient land-related services in the city.

Juan said the 19 residents comprise the first batch of beneficiaries of the project, which targets the distribution of 2,500 land titles across the city.

The DENR official said 22 residential and agricultural free patents, covering a total of almost four hectares, were distributed.

He said the distribution of free patents was in compliance with Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje’s administrative order, which institutionalized the Handog Titulo program that promotes sustainable rural development.

DENR Administrative Order No. 2011-06 sets out guidelines for the implementation of public land titling in partnership with the local government units (LGUs), taking cognizance of their “valuable role” in the development, administration and management of the country’s land resources.

“Land titling, in partnership with the LGUs, hopes to provide speedy resolution to land conflicts that eventually contributes to peace and order in the community, improve LGU income through increased collection of real property taxes, and increase economic activity and investments in the area,” Juan pointed out.

The Batangas City government claimed that only about 60 percent of the city’s land area is titled, noting how tedious and expensive land titling process can be.

As an example, one of the recipients – 68-year-old Gregoria Javier – had been staking a claim over a 250-square meter lot she had been living on since 1982.

According to Juan, the partnership agreement between the DENR and the city government could be an avenue for the reconstitution of the old or missing survey records or the Batangas cadastre. ###