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Disposition of Public Lands
What are Public Lands?
All Lands that are not acquired by private
person or corporation, either by grant or
purchase are public lands. The common
understanding therefore, is that all lands which
have no title or not registered to private
individual are public land these are grouped
Alienable or disposable (A & D Lands) - those
that can be acquired or issued title. Our
constitution provides that only agricultural
lands can be disposed of to private citizens.
What are the modes of disposition or How can
one acquire title over A&D lands?

The modes are:
By Homestead Patent- is a mode of acquiring
alienable and disposable lands of the public
domain for agricultural purposes conditioned
upon actual cultivation and residence.
By Lease
By Free Patent or Administrative legalization
Non-alienable lands - includes timber or forest
lands, mineral lands, national parks. No title can
be issued over any portion within this area.
Sec. 2. The provisions of this Act shall apply to
the lands of the publicdomain; but timber and
mineral lands shall be governed by special laws
andnothing in this Act provided shall be
understood or construed to change ormodify
the administration and disposition of the lands
commonly called "friarlands" and those which,
being privately owned, have reverted to or
becomethe property of the Republic of the
Philippines, which administration
anddisposition shall be governed by the laws at
present in force or which mayhereafter be
Sec. 4. Subject to said control, the Director of
Lands shall have directexecutive control of the
survey, classification, lease, sale or any other
form ofconcession or disposition and
management of the lands of the public
domain,and his decisions as to questions of fact
shall be conclusive when approvedby the
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Sec. 7. For the purposes of the administration
and disposition ofalienable or disposable public
lands, the President, upon recommendation
bythe Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources, shall from time to timedeclare what
lands are open to disposition or concession
under this Act.
Sec.8 However, the President may,for reasons
of public interest, declare lands of the public
domain open todisposition before the same
have had their boundaries established or
beensurveyed, or may, for the same reason,
suspend their concession ordisposition until
they are again declared open to concession or
disposition byproclamation duly published or by
Act of the Congress
Sec. 9. For the purpose of their administration
and disposition, thelands of the public domain
alienable or open to disposition shall be
according to the use or purposes to which such
lands are destined, as follows:(a)
Agricultural;(b) Residential, commercial,
industrial, or for similar productivepurposes;(c)
Educational, charitable, or other similar
purposes; and(d) Reservations for town sites
and for public and quasi-public uses.The
President, upon recommendation by the
Secretary of Agricultureand Natural Resources,
shall from time to timemake the
classificationsprovided for in this section, and
may, at any time and in a similar
manner,transfer lands from one class to
Sec. 10. The words "alienation," "disposition,"
or "concession," as used in this Act, shall mean
any of the methods authorized by this Act for
the acquisition, lease, use or benefit of the
lands of the public domain other than timber or
mineral lands.
Sec. 96. As soon as any land of the public
domain has been surveyed,delimited, and
classified, the President may, in the order
issued by himdeclaring it open for disposition,
designate a term within which occupants
withimprovements but not entitled to free
patents may apply for the land occupiedby
them, if they have the qualifications required by
this Act.
11. Indefeasibility of Title under the
Torens System
The Government has adopted the Torrens
system due to its being the most effective
measure to guarantee the integrity of land titles
and to protect their indefeasibility once the
claim of ownership is established and
recognized. If a person purchases a piece of
land on the assurance that the seller’s title
thereto is valid, he should not run the risk of
being told later that his acquisition was
ineffectual after all, which will not only be
unfair to him as the purchaser, but will also
erode public confidence in the system and will
force land transactions to be attended by
complicated and not necessarily conclusive
investigations and proof of ownership. The
further consequence will be that land conflicts
can be even more abrasive, if not even violent.
The Government, recognizing the worthy
purposes of the Torrens system, should be the
first to accept the validity of titles issued
thereunder once the conditions laid down by
the law are satisfied.[13]
Yet, registration under the Torrens system, not
being a mode of acquiring ownership, does not
create or vest title.[14] The Torrens certificate
of title is merely an evidence of ownership or
title in the particular property described
therein.[15] In that sense, the issuance of the
certificate of title to a particular person does
not preclude the possibility that persons not
named in the certificate may be co-owners of
the real property therein described with the
person named therein, or that the registered
owner may be holding the property in trust for
another person.[16]
Nonetheless, it is essential that title registered
under the Torrens system becomes indefeasible
and incontrovertible
12. Reversion of Land acquired thru Fraud
Sec. 133. Any person who, without having
qualifications required bythis Act, shall by
deceit or fraud acquire or attempt to acquire
lands of thepublic domain or other real
property or any right, title or interest, or
propertyright of any class to the same, and any
person aiding and abetting him thereinor
serving as a means or tool therefor, shall, upon
conviction, be punished bya fine of not more
than five thousand pesos, or by the
imprisonment for notmore than five years, or
both, in the discretion of the court.

Section 122 of the Land Registration Act, a
Torrens title issued on the basis of a free patent
or a homestead patent is as indefeasible as one
judicially secured. And in repeated previous
decisions of this Court that indefeasibility has
been emphasized by Our holding that not even
the Government can file an action for
annulment, but at the same time, it has been
made clear that an action for reversion may be
instituted by the Solicitor General, in the name
of the Republic of the Philippines. It is to the
public interest that one who succeeds in
fraudulently acquiring title to a public land
should not be allowed to benefit therefrom,
and the State should, therefore, have an even
existing authority, thru its duly authorized
officers, to inquire into the circumstances
surrounding the issuance of any such title, to
the end that the Republic, thru the Solicitor
General or any other officer who may be
authorized by law, may file the corresponding
action for the reversion of the land involved to
the public domain, subject thereafter to
disposal to other qualified persons in
accordance with law. In other words, the
indefeasibility of a title over land previously
public is not a bar to an investigation by the
Director of Lands as to how such title has been
acquired, if the purpose of such investigation is
to determine whether or not fraud had been
committed in securing such title in order that
the appropriate action for reversion may be
filed by the Government.
Commonwealth 141:
Section 101. All actions for the
reversion to the government of lands of the
public domain or improvements thereon shall
be instituted by the Solicitor General or the
officer acting in his stead, in the proper courts,
in the name of the Commonwealth of the
13. Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR)
DENR is mandated to be the primary
government agency responsible for the
conservation, management, development and
proper use of the country's environment and
natural resources, including those in
reservations, watershed areas and lands of the
public domain, as well as the licensing and
regulation of all natural resources utilization as
may be provided by law in order to ensure
equitable sharing of the benefits derived
therefrom for the welfare of the present and
future generations of Filipinos.
The DENR's three main functions and
responsibilities are the following:
Formulation and Implementation of rules and
policies that involve the management of the
environment, and the prevention and control of
Supervision of policies and programs that
concerns the conservation, use, and
replenishment of the country's natural resource
Establishment of rules concerning the Philippine
forests, lands, mineral source, and wildlife
Advise the President on the enactment of laws
relative to the development, use, regulation
and conservation of the country's natural
resources and the control of pollution;
Formulate, implement and supervise the
government's policies, plans and programs
pertaining to the management, conservation,
development, use and replenishment of the
country's natural resources.
Promulgate rules and regulations in accordance
with law governing the exploration,
development, conservation, extraction,
disposition, use and such other commercial
activities tending to cause the depletion and
degradation of our natural resources;
Exercise supervision and control over forest
lands, alienable and disposable lands, and
mineral resources and impose appropriate
payments, fees, charges, rentals and any such
form of levy and collect such revenues for the
exploration, development, utilization or
gathering of such resources;
Undertake exploration, assessment,
classification and inventory of the country's
natural resources using ground surveys, remote
sensing and complementary technologies;
Promote proper and mutual consultation with
the private sector involving natural resources
development, use and conservation;
Undertake geological surveys of the whole
country including its territorial waters;
Establish policies and implement programs
Functions of the Secretary
Functions of the Director of the Lands
Management Bureau (LMB)
Land Management Bureau LMB with the
Department of Environment and Natural
Resources Field Offices is mandated by DENR to
administer, survey, manage, and dispose
Alienable and Disposable (A&D) lands and other
government lands not placed under the
jurisdiction of other government agencies. LMB
is also in charged with the management and
administration of the country's natural
resources including the protection of the
people's rights over their lands.
Functions of the PENRO
Functions of the CENRO