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PIA Press Release
2009/06/26

Forum unites land management agencies of Ifugao

by Dan B. Codamon

Lagawe, Ifugao (26 June) -- The forum held here intended for the information and greater awareness of the people regarding land registration and distribution of land patents has forged closer relationship among the government agencies involved in land management and development in the province.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Register of Deeds (ROD), and the Provincial Assessor's Office, all agreed to help one another to facilitate in the processes needed by the people in their application and acquisition of titles to their lands and for their subsequent registration.

DENR Chief Basilio Mamanteo explained that their office as part of their task, is mandated to classify public lands whether they are alienable or disposable or whether they are commercial or residential in character as basis for applying for claims or titles over them.

Claimants or applicants for title of ownership or declaration must get their clearance from the DENR that the lands they possess are classified as such before they can proceed with their claim or application.

This will ultimately result to the issuance of free land patents or certificates of title to the applicants that will cement their private ownership of their lands if they comply with all the necessary requirements and these claims or titles can now be registered at the Register of Deeds, he said.

On the other hand, the DAR through its Provincial Officer Deo Almora also informed that they are thankful the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has been extended by the government for another five years in order to increase their beneficiaries who are mostly landless and poor.

This means that they will continue to closely coordinate and work with the DENR in order to accomplish the agrarian goals of their office so that the lands they will be giving to the beneficiaries under the CARP are free from any controversy. Their close coordination will benefit the people as it will facilitate the approval and distribution of the Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) being given by DAR as part of their program.

Previously, the DENR and the DAR are in constant conflict on the issue of jurisdiction and issuance of land titles that confused the people. This misunderstanding has even reached the courts as to who has the rightful jurisdiction or authority over the issues to the detriment of the clients and land owners.

Ifugao Governor Teddy Baguilat Jr. has long been aware of this problem specially with the passage of the Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA) that allow indigenous people to apply for land titles for those areas declared as watershed areas.

Thus he created the Ifugao Land Management and Development Task Force (ILMDTF) to help the Ifugao people facilitate their claim or application for titles to their lands in pursuance with the IPRA since according to him 90% of Ifugao land are declared as watershed areas.

With the creation of the ILMDTF, it paved the way for the different land management agencies of the government to settle their differences and misunderstandings and instead offered to give each other support and assistance to achieve their goals.

Representing the NCIP, Provincial Director Ms. Esther Licnachan urged and sought the assistance of all the other agencies to help them conduct survey of the Ifugao lands open for application of the so-called ancestral lands and domains as provided in the IPRA since they do not have the manpower and technical expertise to do them.

Atty. Marion Cohpag of the ROD also advised all those with land transactions to register them at her office while Provincial assessor Pedro Namingit Sr. mentioned their predicament of low revenue on real properties as most of the lands in Ifugao have not titled but only rely on declarations for tax purposes.

If all these land titling will materialize then they can have a higher assessment of the lands that can translate to higher tax collection on real properties, he said. (PIA Ifugao) [top]

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