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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda is hopeful for the distribution of a land parcel in Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal within President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's term with the continuous conduct of dialogues between concerned agencies and the informal settlers who have been appealing for ownership.

Antiporda, Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGU) Concerns, has been moving to expedite the land distribution process through the resolution of issues concerning the 20,100-square meter (sq. m.) lot in Barangay Sta. Ana.

"I'm trying to fast track this, but of course, it should be within the bounds of the law. I look forward that by the next time we meet, it would already be for the awarding of titles. I even hope to have our very own President Duterte to award these titles," Antiporda said during his meeting with the land claimants and officers of concerned government agencies on June 1, 2021.

It is only under the term of President Duterte that the case is being seriously dealt with and given attention.

Antiporda added Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has expressed concern over the many years of delay and is hopeful that a solution will soon be reached.

In the meeting held at the DENR Central Office, Antiporda settled the issue on the process of land titling with the help of the respective offices, which include the DENR regional office, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-Rizal, the local government of Taytay, and Samahang Masigasig Tapayan Homeowners Association, Inc. (SAMATHOA).

The said lot is part of the 50,300-sq. m. lot being appealed for ownership by the long-time informal settlers in Lupang Arenda who have been complying with the necessary requirements and clearances for titling of the lands.

Also during the meeting, Antiporda laid out the concerns on the 20,100-sq. m. lot, which was certified by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) as above the reglementary 12.5-meter elevation and is outside the shoreland of Laguna Lake.

Under the residential free patent program, PENRO-Rizal is tasked to process the titling applications of the said lot for disposal.

Likewise, Antiporda instructed PENRO-Rizal and SAMATHOA to submit a report every 15 days on the progress of the actions undertaken or issues identified for monitoring and assistance of his committee.

DENR-Calabarzon Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria also committed "to provide technical assistance and oversight function over its field offices.”

PENRO-Rizal Officer Ernesto Diso Jr. reported that a total of 297 lots are included in the 20,100 sq. m. land parcel, of which 101 applications with carpetas have been submitted and evaluated by the PENRO.

However, he said that there are still 196 lots for application for the residential free patent.

He also reminded SAMATHOA to advise some of its members to submit their tax declarations on the lots they have been occupying as "tax declarations are a primary requirement in titling."

Speaking on behalf of SAMATHOA, Alliance of People’s Organizations in Lupang Arenda (APOLA) president Vicente "Enteng" Barlos said they are ready to comply with the payment of real property tax for the issuance of tax declarations.

Meanwhile, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor Chairperson Alvin Feliciano is hoping that the municipality of Taytay will allow the exemption of the claimants from paying their real property tax.

Antiporda also tasked Diso to endorse the SAMATHOA position paper for consideration for land titling on the remaining 30,200-sq. m. to the DENR-Calabarzon.

The regional office will then give its recommendation to LLDA for the latter’s evaluation and investigation.

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Assistant Secretaries Leira Buan and Avelino Tolentino underscored DENR's vital role in the peaceful resolution of land disposition and affirmed their partnership with the Department to help the Lupang Arenda community.

"We are all in this together to help our fellow residents in Lupang Arenda," Antiporda said. ###