Press Release
August 15, 2011


Senator Franklin Drilon on Monday urged President Benigno S. C. Aquino III to issue an executive order that would require several government agencies to "cease and desist" from issuing land titles, a move seen to resolve the issue of overlapping titles.

"As a stop gap measure, we strongly recommend to the President to issue an executive order which will require every agency to cease and desist in the exercise of its power of titling while the bill is being discussed," Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said during the budget hearing of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Monday, referring to the proposed Land Administration Reform Act, a measure which aims to rationalize land use in the country that is still being finalized by the department for congressional scrutiny.

Drilon, floated the suggestion during a hearing of the proposed P16.9 billion budget of the DENR for 2012, saying he would raise the issue during the meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council on Tuesday.

Drilon said the problem has been worsened by the fact that five agencies are involved in land titling, such as the Bureau of Lands, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Land Registration Authority and the courts.

"These five agencies appear to be doing their own titling and therefore the possibility of overlapping of titles is always there," he pointed out.

In Baguio, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told the Finance Committee, certificates of ancestral domain titles are being "sold, just like any TCTs (transfer certificates of title)."

"It is prohibited to transfer these titles from one person to the other," said Drilon.

According to Drilon, at least 4 million hectares have already been given titles under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, called certificates of ancestral domain titles, based on DENR records.

Included in next year's proposed outlay is a P3.6 billion allocation for cadastral survey, covering 3.1 million hectares of the 30 million ha total jurisdiction of the country. The remaining 2.5 million ha that has not been covered will be completed by 2013, Drilon said.

According to the DENR, they will be engaging private companies in order to complete the surveying rather than hiring personnel in the DENR for this activity which is supposed to be finished by the end of 2013.

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