Hundreds own land titles under free patent scheme in Region 12

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/17 June) – Hundreds of beneficiaries have received ownership certificates in the largest distribution of land titles in Southwestern Mindanao this year under a government program spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Alfredo Pascual, regional DENR director, said that 650 land titles were issued to beneficiaries under Republic Act 10023 or the New Residential Free Patent.

Residential beneficiaries early this week received the titles to lands ranging from 166 to 750 square meters, and from to two five hectares for farm beneficiaries, the regional DENR office reported.

“Lands are essential to living and a valuable asset too, being one of the factors of production. Let us make our lands productive in order to uplift not only our living condition but also our economy,“ Pascual said in a statement.

He said the distributed land titles were located in Tantangan in South Cotabato, Matalam in North Cotabato, Esperanza and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat, and Kiamba and Malungon in Sarangani.

There were also beneficiaries from the cities of Koronadal and General Santos, he added.

The distribution of land titles was in line with the Aquino government’s thrust to institute and hasten reforms in the land sector including the judicial processes in land titling, Pascual said.

South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said the program makes dreams come true for beneficiaries to own residential and farm lands.

Under RA 10023, residential land owners can apply for a free patent with the DENR through the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) which has jurisdiction over the residential lots.

In order to qualify, any Filipino who is an actual occupant of a residential land for 10 years may apply for a free patent title in all municipalities and cities provided that the land should not exceed 200 square meters in highly urbanized cities, 500 sq. m. in other cities, 750 sq. m. in first-class and second-class municipalities, and 1,000 sq. m. in third-class and other municipalities.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed RA 10023 on March 9, 2010.

Prior to RA 10023, free patents are only issued to agricultural lands. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)