Ban issued on development of ancestral lands

BusinessWorld Online
February 15, 2012

HLURB Board Resolution no. 885, published in a daily yesterday, declared an indefinite moratorium on the issuance of any development permit and license to sell to all subdivision and other development projects involving ancestral lands or domain as declared by the regulatory agency.

The order was issued, it noted, to “avert dubious application of the IPRA (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act) law.”

The moratorium will take effect on March 1 and will be in place until “such time that the identified concerns particularly on the transfer and disposition of lands are clarified and settled by the proper authorities.”

The resolution added that “the absence of clear implementing guidelines gave rise to various concerns such as the different interpretations of the law… and the proliferation of questionable and fraudulent transactions on the acquisition and the transfer of ancestral lands such as the issuance of Certificate of Land Transfers outside of the required process.”

The order was in line with a probe conducted by the House committee on national cultural communities last year which revealed that some ancestral lands in Baguio City were converted into subdivisions despite a provision in the IPRA law (Republic Act 8371) that ancestral lands cannot be sold to non-members of the same indigenous cultural communities.

“That is why there should be moratorium until the issue is resolved, Ifugao Rep. Teddy B. Baguilat, Jr., chairman of the panel, said in an interview. — NMG

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