"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, December 28, 2009

Small landowners to benefit from Free Patent Bill

MANILA, Philippines—Congress has ratified the Free Patent bill that would allow 39 million Filipinos, mostly low and middle income individuals, to legally obtain title to the lands that they have possessed for at least 10 years, Senator Richard Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon, co-sponsor and author of Senate Bill 3429 (an Act Reforming the Administrative Titling Process), said that the measure, which was ratified by both chambers of Congress before the Christmas break, aims to ease the requirements and procedures in the titling of residential and commercial land.

“Many landowners, despite possession of their land, have only ‘rights’ or a tax declaration to their land due to the high cost, long delay, and inconvenient procedures of judicial titling,” he said.

Under the present Public Land Act, residential and commercial landholders can acquire title only through court, which requires hiring a lawyer, paying for a survey, securing testimonies from neighbors and clearances from the barangay (village), and filing a court petition, among others.

The senator explained that the current situation, where many land parcels remain untitled, make for bad economics, because landowners cannot secure loans on their property for business and home improvement; and bad policy, because without a title, landowners will not be secure in their possession, potentially becoming victims of illegally issued land titles by criminal syndicates.

Business organizations such as the Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) and the Makati Business Club (MBC) have been anticipating the enactment of the Free Patent Act, which is also expected to benefit the economy.

“This measure is expected to stimulate bank lending with better collateral, allowing homeowners access to credit in banking institutions,” said Pascual Garcia III, president of CTB, in his letter to Gordon.

Meanwhile, Alberto Lim, executive director of MBC, wrote in a newspaper column, “Titled land increases in value more steadily than untitled land and therefore increases the local government’s tax base. Aside from more business tax, there will also be more legitimate property transactions so the take from transfer fees, documentary stamps, and capital gains taxes will increase.”

With these benefits for both the government and the people, Gordon said that the President is expected to immediately sign the measure once it is transmitted to her office.

Congress OKs law on easier land-titling 

Small owners to greatly benefit from it—Gordon

First Posted 14:10:00 12/28/2009

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