DAR, DENR issue new rules on land distribution

Manila Bulletin
Ellalyn De Vera
april 3, 2014

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have issued new guidelines for the orderly distribution of untitled privately-claimed agricultural lands (UPALs) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The joint DAR-DENR Administrative Order No.03, Series of 2014 will clarify four significant points in the ownership of public lands.

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the objectives of the joint administrative order (JAO) are to define the limits of authority of DAR and DENR in the coverage of UPALs under CARP and its distribution in excess of the applicable titling limit on the ownership of public lands, and to clarify the procedure in the validation and documentation of vested rights of the landowner-claimant.

Also under the JAO, the conduct of subdivision survey and disposition of areas will be retained under DAR’s jurisdiction for distribution under CARP, while DENR will retain jurisdiction over those in excess applicable titling limit.

The order also clarified the rules for the speedy disposition of UPALs by DAR under the applicable titling limit.

De los Reyes noted that the maximum titling limit of 12 hectares under the 1987 Constitution will be observed in the acquisition and disposition of identified UPALs covered under the Operation Land Transfer (OLT) program and the CARP.

He said the applicable titling limits of 24 hectares as prescribed under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions will also be respected provided that the vested rights of the landowner-claimant over the land had accrued during the effectivity of these Constitutions.

De los Reyes also explained that the criteria for the determination of whether or not a person has already acquired a recognizable private right over an untitled landholding will be the continuous occupancy and cultivation for at least 30 years, classification of the land as alienable and disposable, payment of the real estate tax, and absence of any adverse claims on the land.

He added that the areas in excess of the applicable titling limit will be retained under DENR’s jurisdiction and surveyed as one lot to be designated as public land.

He pointed out that the JAO is not applicable to untitled privately agricultural lands already issued with certification of deposit prior to its effectivity and provided that the validity of any and all acts already undertaken on land acquisition and distribution of private agricultural lands will still be governed by the rules and procedures governing at the time of the said acts were undertaken.

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