No Move to Stop Free Patent – Mayor

No Move to Stop Free Patent – Mayor

VOL. XVIII NO. 4 (Nov 1-7, 2014)

  BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday denied issuing any order stopping the implementation of the free patent law in the city saying he is not opposed to the law but is questioning applications that aim to skirt the statute.

“It is not true that I issued an administrative order to discontinue free patent in our city.  I am not against free patent law.  What I am opposing are applications that cover critical areas like creek easement and road rights-of-way and others that intend to circumvent the law,” the mayor said.

He said lots allotted for public purposes and areas exceeding the 200-square meter maximum allowable area under the free patent must be disqualified outright from the coverage of the free patent and instead should be subject to the regular Townsite or Miscellaneous Sales Application (TSA/MSA) mode of land disposition to avoid complications.

The mayor earlier criticized the practice of allowing the subdivision of large tracts of land into 200 square meter lots to qualify under the free patent saying this is tantamount to circumvention of the free patent law and may be abused by landowners.

He then warned that if this practice will not be stemmed, the city stands to face further problems brought about by overpopulation and congestion.

The mayor has been pushing for the reconsideration of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s decision rejecting the issuance of the special guidelines for the free patent law in the city.

The mayor said that the city, being a townsite reservation, needs special rule particularly to prevent the subdivision of lots beyond 200 square meters in order to qualify under the free patent.

The DENR central office in a Memorandum Order through its Land Management Bureau earlier turned down the issuance of special guidelines for the city opining that the “DENR should not give due advantage to Baguio City’s proposed adoption of R. A. 10023 to 200 square meters limit only and no further subdivision for more than said area limit” for lack of basis and for fear that it may set a precedent for other areas.

City and DENR Cordillera officials at the outset agreed that the free patent law runs counter to the city’s present procedure of disposing alienable and disposable lots and thus is inapplicable to the city’s setting as a townsite reservation.

Republic Act No. 10023 entitled “An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands” was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 9, 2010.

The DENR considers said new law as a “landmark measure as it streamlined the requirements and procedures of land titling involving zoned residential lands.”/A Refuerzo