BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA
ILOILO City – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 is calling all qualified individuals to avail themselves of the department’s Free Patent Program, to have the lands they are occupying for decades be issued with proof of ownership.
Regional Executive Director Adeluisa Siapno said free patents for residential lands are provided for under Republic Act 10023 of 2009, “An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands.”
A qualified applicant could apply for a corresponding area as follows:
* within highly urbanized cities – not exceeding 200 square meters
* in other cities – not exceeding 500 square meters
* in first and second class municipalities – not exceeding 750 square meters; and
* in all other municipalities – not exceeding 1,000 square meters.
The distribution of residential free patents is one of the means of the government to alleviate poverty and promote social equity, said Siapno.
Reforms in the land sector such as improvement in land titling procedures, computerization of land records, and the creation of the Task Force on Anti-Fake Titling is now on the final leg of putting everything in place.
Land Management Division Chief Hector Garrido said the program will have a positive impact, too, on local government units (LGUs).
“For one, residential free patent distribution enhances tax revenue collection of the LGUs since patent holders can now pay their land tax willingly and voluntarily. It also afford beneficiaries of socio-economic upliftment,” Garrido said.
Free patents also help residents secure loan, he added.
In 2012, the Land Management Service (LMS) of DENR Region 6 was able to distribute a total of 1,926 residential free patents covering 46.55 hectares over six provinces of Western Visayas.
Negros Occidental had the highest distributed residential free patents with 1,212 covering an area of 25.60 hectares; followed by Antique with 297 covering 9.18 hectares.; Iloilo with 186 patents covering an area of 5.02 hectares; Capiz with 115 patents covering 3.22 hectares; Aklan with 99 covering 2.85 hectares; and Guimaras with 17 patents covering 0.65 hectares.
Free patents distribution is done through the Handog Titulo program of the DENR in every municipality where the beneficiaries personally receive it or through their representatives, in coordination with the officials of their respective local government units./PN