Philippine Laws: March 2010

Here are summaries of some of the new laws that were approved or became effective in March 2010:

1.     Republic Act No. 10023 – An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands.

This Act was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on December 18, 2009, and was approved by the President on March 9, 2010. The Act was published in two newspapers of general circulation on March 19, 2010.

Under the Act, a Filipino citizen, who is an actual occupant of a public residential land, may apply for a Free Patent Title, provided that (a) the land shall not exceed 200 square meters in highly urbanized cities, 500 square meters in other cities, 750 square meters in first class and second class municipalities, and 1,000 square meters in other municipalities, and (b) the land is not needed for public service or public use.

The application shall be filed with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The application shall be supported by (i) a map based on an actual survey conducted by a licensed geodetic engineer and approved by the DENR, (ii) a technical description of the land, and (iii) supporting affidavits of two disinterested persons residing in the same baranggay attesting to the truth of the facts stated in the application that the applicant has actually resided on, and continually possessed and occupied, the land under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, by himself or through his predecessor-in-interest, for at least 10 years, and has complied with the requirements of an applicant.

The CENRO is mandated to process the application within 120 days, and shall give its recommendation to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO). The PENRO shall have 5 days to approve or disapprove the recommendation. In case of conflicting claims, the parties may seek proper judicial remedies.

Public land actually occupied and used for public schools, municipal halls, public plazas or parks, and other governmental institutions for public use or purpose, may be issued special patents in the name of the national agency or local government unit concerned. However, these lands shall not be disposed of unless sanctioned by Congress if owned by a national agency, or by the sanggunian if owned by a local government unit.

The Director of Land Management Bureau of the DENR shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations for this Act.

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