In a move to protect government lands from encroachment, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today directed the Land Management Bureau (LMB) to prioritize the titling of all untitled government lands.

At the same time, Paje ordered the regional offices of the DENR to immediately conduct an inventory of untitled lands owned by various government entities and instrumentalities, including those of local government units.

Paje issued the order in consonance with the thrust of the Aquino government to institute reforms in the country’s land administration and management.

“Securing formal titles for all government lands will prevent unscrupulous land syndicates encroaching government lands. Illegal titling has become an avenue of all sorts of corruption that’s why we are initiating this action to stave off such misdeeds from happening,” Paje said. Paje said the titling program of government lands will cover untitled lands owned by national agencies, state colleges and universities, public schools, and local government units.

Untitled areas intended for public purposes by virtue of special laws and proclamations shall likewise be covered by the titling program.

LMB Director Allan Barcena said that under Public Land Act or Commonwealth Act 141, it provides that a special patent can be issued in favor of government instrumentalities or institutions over alienable and disposable (A and D) lands devoted for public purposes.