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Atty. Erwin L.

Discussion Guide
Land Title and Deeds

I. Introduction
A. Land Administration
The term “land administration” refers to the processes of recording and disseminating
information about the ownership, value and use of land and its associated resources.
Such processes include the determination or “adjudication” of rights and other attributes
of the land, the survey and description of these, their detailed documentation and the
provision of relevant information in support of land markets. (UNICE, 1995)

Land administration can be likened to accounting and bookkeeping, except that instead
of money, it is land that is being inventoried, accounted and booked. Land is
inventoried, accounted and booked through land survey - by dividing it into parcels or
lots for easy identification. The corresponding ownership or interest over these parcels
is also accounted and in some instances, awarded and adjudicated to the owner. The
ownership in each of these parcels are thereafter registered in the Register of Deeds.
The lands so identified, adjudicated and registered become “titled lands” whose
ownership are considered as “indefeasible” or certain. Thus, land administration
systems are not primarily concerned with general data on land but are concerned more
with detailed information of each land parcel within its jurisdiction.

A good land administration system should have the following components to be


✓ Land Survey and Mapping - where land boundaries are identified and land parcels
are created;

✓ Land Adjudication - where interests on land are identified and ownership resolved;

✓ Land Registration - where land titles are created and interest on land registered in a
public registry; and

✓ Cadastre - is normally a parcel based and up-to-date land information system

containing a record of interests in land (i.e. rights, restrictions and responsibilities).

The central component of an effective land administration system is the cadastre where
records on land survey, adjudication and registration are integrated. It usually includes a
geometric description of land parcels linked to other records describing the nature of the
interests, ownership or control of those interests, and often the value of the parcel and
its improvements. It may be established for fiscal purposes (e.g. valuation and
taxation), for titling/legal purposes (transfers of land), for management of land and land
use (e.g. for planning and other administrative purposes), and for sustainable
development and environmental protection. The “tax map” and “tax roll” of the LGUs in
the Philippines is an example of a fiscal cadaster. The “tax map” is usually based from
the “cadastral survey” of the area conducted for titling purposes.

Land administration provides for an immediate means of identifying with certainty and
accuracy the ownership and interest in a land. This information can only be provided by
an efficient land administration based on a modern and efficient system that will:

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Atty. Erwin L. Tiamson
Discussion Guide
Land Title and Deeds

✓ Guarantee ownership and security of tenure;

✓ Support the land market by facilitating recording of interest and transfers of


✓ Support land and property taxation;

✓ Reduce land disputes;

✓ Facilitate land reform;

✓ Improve urban planning and infrastructure development;

✓ Support environmental management; and

✓ Produce statistical data.

B. Government Agencies Involved in Land Administration

The primary land administration functions of land surveying and mapping, land titling
and land registration are performed by different government agencies. The duties and
responsibilities of the officials and employees of these agencies are prescribed by laws,
rules and regulations, including the specific procedure that has to be followed in the
conduct of the land administration activities.

Below are the national agencies with major land administration functions. These
agencies are involved directly in activities on surveying and mapping, titling and
registration of lands:

✓ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the main agency

involved in land classification, land surveys and titling of public land. It issues land
patents in the form of homestead, sales and free patents as well as land leases and
other permits on public agricultural lands. (Commonwealth Act No. 141, Public Land
Act, 1936, see;

✓ Land Registration Authority (LRA) assists court in tilting of private lands (original
and cadastral land registration proceeding), decides questions regarding registration
of instruments, approves simple subdivisions of registered lands and exercise
supervision over the Registers of Deeds (RDs). (Presidential Decree (P.D.) No.
1529, Property Registration Decree, 1978, see;

✓ Registrars’ of Deeds registers patents, Certificate of Land Ownership Awards,

Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles/Claims (CADT/C) issued by DENR, the
Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous People
respectively and the judicial decrees issued by LRA. It is also responsible for the
registration of subsequent voluntary and involuntary transactions on registered
lands. (P.D. No. 1529, Property Registration Decree, 1978);

✓ Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is responsible for the agrarian reform

program of the government. It issues agrarian reform land grants in the form of
Emancipation Patents and Certificate of Land Ownership Awards that are registered
by the Registrar of Deeds. (Republic Act No. 6657/9700, Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law (CARL), 1988, see;

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✓ National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) resolves issues on ancestral

lands. It undertakes delineation of ancestral domain land (self-delineation) and
issues CADT/Cs that are registered by the Registrar of Deeds. (Republic Act No.
8371, The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act, 1997)

✓ The Courts (Judiciary) hear and adjudicate private claims on lands of the public
domain. Court judgment is the basis of LRA in the issuance of Decrees that are
registered by the Registrar of Deeds. (Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, Judiciary Re-
organization Act, 1980 and P.D. No. 1529, Property Registration Decree, 1978)

✓ Local Government Units (LGUs) issue tax declarations, prepare tax maps, zoning
ordinances, conversions of lands and perform other land management functions.
(Republic Act No. 7160, The Local Government Code, 1990)

C. Public and Private Lands

There are two basic principle that underpin land ownership in the Philippines. The first is
State ownership under the concept of the Regalian Doctrine. The second is the right to
private ownership.

The first principle in our land laws is the Regalian Doctrine, which holds that all lands
belong to the State and only by a grant from the State can land pass into private
ownership. Thus under the Constitution, all lands of public dominion and all other
natural resources are owned by the State and all lands not otherwise clearly appearing
to be privately owned are presumed to belong to the State, which is the source of any
asserted rights to ownership of land. Under this concept, private title to lands must be
traced to some grant, express or implied, from the State. This finds expression in
Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution (National Economy and Patrimony) and
likewise incorporated under Book 2, Title 1, Chapter 3 of the New Civil Code.

The second principle is the principle of private ownership. It includes not only the right
to use and enjoyment, but also the right to exclude others, including the State, from the
land. This right is protected under the Constitution and under the law that gives land
owners absolute control and exclusive rights on the basis of legal, state-conferred
ownership, subject only to certain limitation on police power (land use and
environmental protection) and eminent domain.

Base from these principles, and tenure or the modes of holding or occupying land in the
Philippines can be generally divided into public and private lands.

1. Public Domain Lands

Public Domain Lands are lands that are owned by the State. These are referred to as
lands of the Public Domain.

Ownership by use - It includes lands that are intended for public use, such as
roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks,
shores, roadsteads and others of similar character, and lands that are intended for
some public purpose.

Ownership by classification - Forest and mineral lands and national parks are all
lands of the public domain and no private ownership is allowed in this type of lands.

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Land Title and Deeds

Ownership in its Private Capacity - Lands that are owned by the State in its
private capacity are called “patrimonial properties.”

2. Private Domain Lands

Are those lands that are owned by private persons. Private lands are originally acquired
from the State by qualified private persons (original disposition). Once acquired, it
becomes private property and it can be transferred by the owner to any person who is
allowed by the law to acquire lands.

Private land ownership is limited to A and D lands and is primarily governed by the
following laws:

✓ The Constitution

✓ New Civil Code of the Philippines

✓ Public Land Laws

✓ Property Registration Decree

✓ Agrarian Reform Laws

✓ Ancestral Domain Law

C. Land Titles and Land Registration

Every land administration system should include some form of land registration
component for the recording of rights and interest on land. In some countries, this
information is guaranteed by the State, an example of which is the Torrens system of
land registration that originated from Australia. The information regarding ownership is
usually contained in a cadastre or a parcel based inventory of land with ownership/
interest attributes for each parcel. Land registration provides for a safe and certain
foundation for the acquisition, enjoyment and disposal of such rights in land.

1. Title as Naked Right of Ownership

As discussed earlier, we say that the source of all title to lands is the State. Lands that
are held by private persons are originally acquired from the State through land grants,
direct (patents) or indirect (by operations of law). Once the land has been granted, it
becomes private and the land becomes segregated from the lands of the public domain.
Thereafter, said land becomes the absolute property of the private owner to the
exclusion of everyone, including the State.

As private property, the owner can exclude anyone, use and occupy the land, and
transfer complete ownership or allow its use by some other persons with minimal
interference from the State. In the strict legal sense, this ownership is referred to as a
“title”. It means the lawful cause or ground of control and enjoyment of land.

2. Titled Land as Registered Land

We tend to use the word “titled land” differently from the legal sense of these words. We
use “titled land” in the colloquial to mean that a land has been registered in the Register
of Deeds and covered by the Torrens System. Thus, the significance of the word “titled
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land” and its opposite “untitled land”, does not lie on the bare ownership of the land (the
legal meaning) but on the fact of whether or not “such ownership on the land has been
registered” at the Register of Deeds. In short, when we use the word titled land, what
we really mean is registered land.

3. Untitled Land as Unregistered Land

We use the word “untitled land”, on the other hand, to mean private lands that is not
registered in the Register of Deeds and not covered by the Torrens System. When we
use the word untitled land, we refer to bare ownership of land or ownership that has not
been adjudicated either judicially or administratively and registered as Torrens title
under P.D. No. 1529. The land has already been acquired by operation of law and is
now private land although its final adjudication for purposes of Torrens registration is still

This ordinary meaning of the word “untitled land” has been used in the same ordinary
sense by some land agencies as well. For example, Untitled Private Agricultural Lands
(UPAL) are used by the DENR and DAR to mean lands that have been considered as
private lands already by operation of law but said private ownership is not registered
with the Register of Deeds. Although UPALs are unregistered land, the DAR pays the
owner/claimant compensation when such land is covered and distributed. The most
common evidence of ownership on this type of tenure is the tax declaration that is filed
by land owners in the Assessor's Office of Local Governments for purposes of real
property tax assessment and payment.

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Atty. Erwin L. Tiamson
Discussion Guide
Land Title and Deeds

II. Land Ownership in the Philippines

A. Pre-Spanish Concept of Land Ownership
"Land tenure (in pre-hispanic Philippines) was defined. In the Barangay system, house
lots were owned by occupant families. Back of the houses were the family fields, in
parcel or strips, much like the strip fields in many villages in Western Europe. The most
valuable is the tubigan or watered land, which indicates that the basic crop was rice"

"The institution of private property in land contradicts modern assertion that all
Barangay land was owned in common. Traditions and customs vested ownership in the
family. The family land can be transferred via inheritance, purchase or barter and could
be pledge as security for debts. Inheritance is not governed by rules of primogeniture
common in many European cultures; the children inherits in equal parts."

"According to Morga, lands such as fields, nipa palm groves and wooded properties are
barter items among natives. Land transfers also occurred via non-payment of debts."

"In addition to the family residential lots and stip fields, the land system includes an
undivided tract of land owned by the Barangay as a the community. This tract generally
covered the adjoining wood or forest, slopes, tinges, and fertile uplands, fishing areas
and in coastal sites, mangroves and swamp lands. It must be noted that this institution
of commonly owned tracks approximated the contemporary European institution of the
village common." 1

B. Spanish Period
1. Ownership of Lands by Discovery
All lands in the Philippines were acquired by the Spanish crown through discovery.

2. Land Titles Issued during the Spanish Period

Private property ownership on land was introduced through land grants from the
Spanish crown to settlers and to indigenous population by way of royal grants, sale and
possessory titles.

Modern legislations on land - Royal Decree of February 13, 1894 - Various laws on land
disposition was codified under the Royal Decree of February 13, 1894 providing for the
rules on sale, compromise and prescription on crown lands. Possessors of alienable
public lands under cultivation who have not obtained nor applied for adjustment
(composicion con el estado) on the date of such decree may still obtain a gratuitous title
to the land by means of a possessory information upon establishing the existence of
any of the following conditions: (1) continuous cultivation of the land during the
preceding 6 years; (2) possession of the land for 12 consecutive years and cultivation of
the same during the preceding 3 years; or (3) open and continuous possession for at
least 30 years in case the land has not been under cultivation. A system of land
registration was introduced known as “Ley Hipoticaria” or Mortgage Law, the last of
which was in 1894 (The Spanish Mortgage Law).

1 OD Corpuz (1997), Economic History of the Philippines, UP Press

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These are the land titles issued under the Spanish Period.

Titulo Real - Title to land granted generally to Spanish subjects in order to encourage
them to settle and go out to the people of the new territory are called titulo real. (Law 1
and 3, Title 13, Book 4, Recopilacion de las Leyes de las Indias)

Concession Especial - This is a form of acquiring title to land accomplished through the
exercise of a special power by the Governor-General of the Philippines without any
authority of a special law. (Law II, Title 15, Book 2 of the Law of the Indies)

Titulo de Composicion con el estado - By these titles, unlawful entries and detainer of
lands by private individuals who extended their possessions beyond the original grants
were legalized under certain conditions. This was conceived as a means of compromise
between the Crown as the owner of the land and the private individual as the usurper.
These titles were then evidences of absolute ownership but may likewise be lost by
prescription. The titles were granted by the Spanish Government through the Direccion
General de Administracion Civil, pursuant to the provision of the Royal Decree of 25
June 1880; that granted by the Chief of the Province by delegation pursuant to the
provisions of Royal Decree of 31 August 1888; and that granted also under the Royal
Decree of 13 February 1894.

Titulo de Compra - This is acquired in accordance with the regulations for the sale of
public lands in the Philippines approved by the Royal Decree of January 26,1889.
Under the regulations, the application to purchase must be published in the Gazetta de
Manila setting forth the description of the land and giving 60 days in which anyone can
present his objection to the same. A similar notice in the dialect was required to be
posted in the municipal building of the town in which the property was situated, besides
making it public by the town crier. The sale was conducted at public auction and
awarded to the highest bidder and covered not only vacant lands but also public lands
occupied without title.

Informacion Possesoria - Ley Hipotecaria - The informacion posesoria proceedings

under the provisions of the Mortgage Law made effective in the Philippines on
December 1, 1889 were available to those who had claim to lands to have their
possession recorded in the Registry of Deeds.

Under Article 393 of the Spanish Mortgage Law, the registered possessory information
proceedings do not ripen into ownership except under certain conditions such as: (a)
that an applicant has been in open possession of the land; (b) that an application to this
effect has been filed after the expiration of twenty (20) years from the date of such
registration; (c) that such conversion be announced by means of a proclamation in a
proper official bulletin; (d) that there is a court order for the conversion of the registration
of possession into a record of ownership; and (e) that the Register of Deeds make the
proper record thereof in the Registry

But such recorded possessory information proceedings did not ripen into ownership
except under certain conditions, the most important of which was the expiration of 20
years after the entry or record in the Registry of Deeds of the possessory information
proceedings. And under Article 394 of the Mortgage Law, the entry or record of
possession in the Registry of Deeds did not prejudice the owners of the property
although his title had not been recorded, unless prescription had confirmed and secured
the claim recorded.
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3. Spanish Mortgage Law

✓ Introduced by the Spanish, also known as the Ley Hipotecaria or “law on

✓ This is a land registration system, meaning it is not limited to registration of

mortgages but also includes transfers and other dealings on lands.

✓ This is the predecessor of the torrens system of land registration.

✓ This system was founded on titles issued during the Spanish regime that were
registered under the mortgage law.

✓ The latest version of this law was implemented in the Philippines in 1894 as part
of the three “provincias de ultramar" with a uniform mortgage law for them—the
Ley Hipotecaria de Ultramar, also known as Ley Maura, after Don Antonio Maura
y Montaner, then Ministro de Ultramar.

✓ The system co-existed with the Torrens System of Land Registration Act No. 926
(An Act to Provide with the Adjudication and Registration of Lands in the
Philippines, 1902).

✓ It was discontinued in 1977 (PD No. 892, Discontinuance of the Spanish

Mortgage System of Land Registration and of the Use of Spanish Titles as
Evidence in Land Registration Proceedings)

C. American Period
1. Treaty of Paris of 1898 Between
the U.S. and Spain What can a holder of a land title
registered under the Spanish
✓ All properties of the Spanish crown Mortgage do during the American era?
were transferred to the United
States A holder of a Spanish Title registered
under the Spanish Mortgage Law may
✓ It excludes private lands or lands continue to use the system in his land
that were already given by the dealings or he may have the land
Spanish Crown in favor to private registered anew under Act No. 496 under
persons the Torrens System. If he opted for Act
No. 496, he has to file a land registration
✓ Two types of land ownership -
case with the land registration court.
Lands of the public domain (all
lands that belongs to the Spanish
Crown) and private lands.

2. Philippine Bill of 1902 (First Constitution)

✓ Provides for the rules on disposition of lands of the public domain.

✓ Introduction of two modes of acquiring titles to land.

✓ Public land grants - homestead, sales, free patents;

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✓ Confirmation of Titles - imperfect titles from the Spanish and title by prescriptions
(by operations of law)

✓ Resulted to the enactment of 2 laws

a. Act No. 496 (Land Registration Law)

Provided for the registration of private lands in “fee simple” (Section 19) or those
lands that are already disposed by the crown as private lands, completed title.

b. Act No. 926 (Public Land Act)

Provided for the rules on disposition of public lands (undisposed crown lands)
through sales, homestead, and free patent; provides for the rules on confirmation
of imperfect spanish grants and possessory titles (by prescription)


1) Johnson vs Mackintosh

2) Chaves vs. The United States (175 U.S., 552)

3) Valenton vs Marciano 3 Phil. Reports 537, 2 Off. Gaz., 434, March 30, 1904;

4) Cansino vs Valdez, G.R. No. L-2468, July 16, 1906

5) Cariño vs Insular Government, 212 U. S., 449

6) Jones vs. Insular Government, G.R. No. L-2506 April 16, 1906, 6 Phil.122

7) Susi vs. Razon and Director of Lands, G.R. No. L-24066, December 9, 1925

8) Mapa vs. Insular Government, G.R. No. L-3793, February 19, 1908, 10 Phil.,1753

9) Cornelio Ramos vs. Director of Lands, (G.R. No. 13298 November 19, 1918)

10)Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Abella, G.R. No. L-25010 October 27,
1926, (49 Phil. 49)

11) Jocson vs Director of Forestry

12) Oh Cho vs Director of Lands, 75 Phil. 890

13)Uy Un vs. Perez, 71 Phil. 508 "En Español”

14)Mindanao vs. Director of Lands, L-19535, July 10, 1967

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Discussion Guide
Land Title and Deeds

III. Land Classification

A. Definition
Land classification pertains to “classification of lands of the public domain as a natural
resources” . Under Philippines laws, all natural resources are owned by the State.
However, lands classified as agricultural may be declared alienable and disposable
and may be disposed as private lands to qualified citizens through homestead, sales
and other grants.

B. Laws Relating to Land Classification

1987 Constitution Article XII, Sections 2 and 3 providers for the classes of lands of the
public domain - Agricultural, Forest, Mineral and National Park. These lands are
governed by the following laws:

1. Agricultural Lands - Commonwealth Act No. 141 (Public Land Act)

2. Forest Lands - Presidential Decree No. 795 (Revised Forestry Code)

3. Mineral Lands - Republic Act No. 7931 (Mining Act of 1995)

4. National Parks - Republic Act No. 7598 (National Integrated Protected

Area System Act)

C. Rules on Land Classification

1. Classification describes the legal nature not the natural state of the

2. Executive Department determines land classification (CA No. 141 and

PD No. 705)

3. Congress has the power to reclassify of land (Section 4 of Republic

Act No. 6657)

4. Congress will determine the final forest line

5. Disposition of public lands limited to agricultural lands;

✓ Only to Filipino citizens; corporations cannot receive a public land grant except
by way of lease (not more than 1,000 hectares)

✓ Limit is 12 hectares by way of homestead, sales and grants

✓ Previously 16 hectares (Phil. Bill of 1902); 24 hectares in 1935 Constitution; 12

hectares under the 1987 Constitution

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D. Classification of Lands Executive Order No. 192 (June 10,

1. Criteria in Land Classification 1987) created the National Mapping
and Resource Information Authority
✓ Chapter II of PD No. 705 (NAMRIA), integrating into it the
functions and powers of the Natural
✓ DENR study, devise, determine and Resources and Management Center
prescribe the criteria, guidelines and (NRMC), the National Cartography
methods for the proper and accurate Authority (NCA), the Bureau of Coast
classification and survey of all lands of and Geodetic Survey (BCGS), and
the public domain. the Land Classification Teams of the
then Bureau of Forest Development
✓ Through an Inter-Bureau action - (transformed into a Forest
DENR Sectoral Bureaus on Lands Management Bureau performing staff
(LMB), Forestry (FMB), Mines (MGB) functions).
and Protected area (PAWB)

✓ The Land Classification Teams of the

forest bureau was transferred to NAMRIA under EO No. 192 in 1987.

✓ Topography 18% in slope unless covered by existing titles or approved public

land application or actually occupied openly, continuously, adversely and publicly
for a period of not less than thirty years (30)

✓ Areas below 18% but are needed for forest purposes (see enumeration in
Section 16 of PD No. 1529

✓ Marking of forest boundaries

2. Lands of the Public Domain

Used to describe so much of the lands in the Philippines that has not been subjected
to private rights. Public lands are also used in a limited sense to describe such lands
as are subject to sale or other modes of acquisition or concession under the public
land laws.


✓ Lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural, forest or timber,
mineral lands, and national parks.

✓ Agricultural lands of the public domain may be further classified by law according
to the uses which they may be devoted.

✓ Alienable lands of the public domain shall be limited to agricultural lands.

✓ Private corporations or associations may not hold such alienable lands of the
public domain except by lease, for a period not exceeding twenty-five years,
renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and not to exceed one thousand
hectares in area.

✓ Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five hundred hectares, or
acquire not more than twelve (12) hectares thereof by purchase, homestead, or
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3. Agricultural lands.
✓ Alienable and disposable lands refer to those lands of the public domain which
have been the subject of the present system of classification and declared as not
needed for forest purposes.

✓ Suitability for agricultural use is the criteria;

✓ Before, the court can make a determination of what are considered as

agricultural lands;

✓ Agricultural Lands are further sub classified as residential, commercial, industrial,

etc. under Section 9 of the Public Land Act.

4. Forest Land
Definition of Forest Land - Forest lands include the public forest, the permanent
forest or forest reserves, and forest reservations.

(a) Public Forest - Public forest is the mass of lands of the public domain which has
not been the subject of the present system of classification for the determination
of which lands are needed for forest purposes and which are not.

(b) Permanent Forest or Forest Reserves - Permanent forest or forest reserves

refer to those lands of the public domain which have been the subject of the
present system of classification and determined to be needed for forest

(c) Forest Reservations - Forest reservations refer to forest lands which have been
reserved by the President of the Philippines for any specific purpose or

(d) Production Forest - forest stands tended primarily for the production of timber.
This includes natural and man-made forests.

5. Mineral Lands
(a) Definition of Minerals - Minerals, for legal purposes, refers to all naturally
occurring inorganic substance in solid, gas, liquid or any intermediate state
excluding energy materials such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, radioactive
materials and geothermal energy.

(b) Definition of Mineral Lands under the old Mining Act (CA No. 137) - those lands
in which minerals exist in sufficient quantity or quality to justify the necessary
expenditures to be incurred in extracting and utilizing such minerals

(c) Definition of Mineral Lands under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA No.
7932) - any area where mineral resources are found

(d) In relation to land titles - A certificate of title is considered void when it covers
property of public domain classified as mineral lands because possession of
mineral lands, no matter how long does not confer possessory rights.

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6. National Parks
✓ New Class - It was introduced only in the 1987 Constitution as a distinct and
separate class of lands. National parks as a classification is implemented under
Republic Act No. 7586 or the NIPAS law (An Act Providing for the Establishment
and Management of National Integrated Protected Areas System, Defining its
Scope and Coverage for other Purposes)

✓ Definition - a forest reservation essentially of natural wilderness character which

has been withdrawn from settlement, occupancy or any form of exploitation
except in conformity with approved management plan and set aside as such
exclusively to conserve the area or preserve the scenery, the natural and historic
objects, wild animals and plants therein and to provide enjoyment of these
features in such areas. It is a relatively large area not materially altered by human
activity where extractive resource uses are not allowed and maintained to protect
outstanding natural and scenic areas of national or international significance for
scientific, educational and recreational use. (Section 4 par. (a) of RA No. 7586)


Agencies Involved

15) DOJ Opinion No. 23, Series of 1995.

16) DENR vs Yap (G.R. No. 167707, October 08, 2008)

Agricultural Land

17) de Aldecoa vs Insular Government (G.R. No. 3894. March 12, 1909)

18) Krivenko vs. Register of Deeds of Manila (18 G.R. No. L-630. November 15,

Mineral Lands

19) Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. vs. Dumyung (GR No. L-31666, April 20, 1929)

20)Republic vs. Court of Appeals and dela Rosa (GR No. L-43938, April 15, 1988)

Ancestral Domain (RA No. 8371) "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.”

21)Cruz vs. DENR Secretary (G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000)

Survey Error

22)Republic vs. Peralta, et al., En Banc (G.R. No. 150327, June 18, 2003)

Lands declared by the courts as agricultural lands prior to the introduction of land

23) Sta. Monica Industrial and Development Corporation vs. Court of Appeals (189
SCRA 792)

24) Director of Forestry vs. Villareal (G.R. No. L-32266 February 27, 1989)

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Lands already registered by the Court as Private Lands

25)Republic vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 155450, August 6, 2008) d)

Bureaucratic Constraints in Classification of Lands

26)Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, En Banc (G.R. No. 127245,
January 30, 2001)

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IV. Identifying Lands - Survey and Mapping

A. Basic Concepts in Land Surveys and Mapping
The first activity in land administration is surveying and mapping. The activity is
intended to create land parcels. Land parcels are the basic unit of real property and the
starting point in the determination of the identity of the land by describing its location,
boundaries, area, physical description, and in certain kind of surveys, the tenure claims
existing at the time of the survey.

1. Land Survey
Land surveying is the process of measuring and delineating the natural and artificial
features of the earth. The surveyor’s observations, measurements and computations
are usually reduced into maps that are drawn from the survey data gathered. Maps are
visual representations or descriptions of the land; measured and delineated with a
certain degree of precision and show the relationships between physical elements of
that space through symbols (Cadastral Survey and Records of Rights, Binns 1951) FAO
Land Tenure Studies)

2. Survey Maps
A well-drawn map is an accurate scale model of the surface of the land which when
presented in two dimensions at a sufficiently large scale, can be used to indicate any
point on the land with accuracy (Binns, 1951). The large/small terminology arose from
the practice of writing scales as numerical fractions: 1/10,000 is larger than
1/10,000,000. However, it is important to recognize that even the most accurate maps
sacrifice a certain amount of accuracy in scale to deliver greater visual usefulness to its
user. Digitally and cartographically-enhanced large-scale topographic maps (1:10,000
scale) provide more detailed information on administrative boundaries, drainage
systems, existing infrastructure, major establishments, road networks, topography,
vegetation, and other economic indicators, showing the present development in the
area at barangay level. Similarly, medium and small scale maps (1:50,000 and
1:250,000 scale) are support tools for applications at municipal and provincial levels.
Administrative maps indicate political boundaries of provinces and regions of the
country. (NAMRIA)

3. General Uses:
The measurements and delineations of land, when recorded in the form of maps either
on paper or within a computer, can be the basis of an accurate inventory of land
resources. In the Philippines, an accurate inventory of land and its legal classification is
important since only certain types or kinds of public lands can be subject to disposition,
private ownership, registration and titling. An example of this type of map used for
inventory of natural resources are the Land Classification Maps (LC Maps) of the DENR
that show the delineation between alienable and disposable (A and D) lands and those
that are not subject to disposition. LC Maps are generated from forest delineation
surveys that mark the boundaries of agricultural lands and the non-disposable forest/
mineral lands and national parks. These maps are kept by NAMRIA that has the
mandate to conduct delineation surveys under Executive Order (E.O.) No. 192.

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✓ Inventory of land parcels with its boundaries;

✓ Inventory and full and accurate knowledge of natural resources of the land;

✓ Best means of obtaining, recording and analyzing such knowledge resulting to better
land classification and land use planning;

✓ Necessary for planned development of natural resources, town planning schemes,

orderly development of industries and systems of communication;

✓ Enable land transactions to be effected safely, quickly and cheaply;

✓ The cadastral maps and corresponding index maps can be conveniently used as a
BASE MAP for the recording of any information which requires maps of these
scales. Cadastral maps greatly assist every branch of the public service connected
with land, (e.g. taxation, irrigation, drainage, flood control, etc.) making them more

✓ Besides the economic, fiscal, agrarian, scientific and administrative uses, there is a
growing demand for maps and plans of all kinds for recreational purposes, for air
travel, for the use of tourists in connection with historical, archeological or artistic
studies, for commercial and industrial purposes and for educational purposes; and

4. Use for Property Identification

To a private land owner, the fact that the land is properly mapped and that rights are
clearly registered is of the greatest benefit since it provides security of tenure,
minimizes disputes and litigation, and provides better access to credit.

An accurate and large-scale map is the only sound basis for a record of rights,
privileges, duties and responsibilities to land. No system of registration of rights can be
effective and no system of land taxation can be just and efficient without a description
which enables the land affected to be identified with certainty on the ground, and no
such identification can be regarded as certain without a suitable map to which the
description can be referred. Examples of this type of maps are the cadastral maps,
cadastral index maps, tax maps, subdivision maps, etc. Cadastral maps and other
property survey maps are kept by the DENR while subdivision maps of registered
properties subdivided by the Authority are kept by LRA. Tax maps are kept by the Local
Assessor’s Office.

B. Government Agencies with Land Survey and Mapping Functions

DENR is the primary agency that exercises direct control and supervision over survey of
lands in the Philippines (Section 4, CA No. 141). Such control is done through the
issuance of Survey Standards - Issues manuals and technical bulletins, that surveyor’s
has to follow in measuring and describing the boundaries of the land. The DENR also
has direct supervision of the conduct of all surveys through inspection, verification and
approval of surveys that are required to be submitted under the provisions of CA No.
141 and PD No. 1529. The LRA has concurrent jurisdiction to approve simple
subdivision of registered lands (Section 6 Par. 1 (f) of PD No. 1529). However, there are
other government agencies that has survey functions too. Below are these agencies
and their functions.

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1. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

The primary agency in-charge with the survey of lands in the Philippines. Its mandate

✓ Issuance of Rules and Regulations that will govern the conduct of surveys in the
Philippines (Land Management Bureau (LMB));

✓ Conduct of actual surveys on lands of the public domain;

✓ Conduct of administrative boundary surveys (i.e. political boundaries);

✓ Inspection, verification and approval of all original surveys on untitled A and D lands
(DENR Regional Officer) such as Isolated Land Surveys and Cadastral Surveys;

✓ Inspection, verification and approval of all subdivision and consolidation on untitled A

and D lands; and

✓ Inspection, verification and approval of simple survey plans (the resulting lots is not
more than 9 and without road lots); and

✓ Inspection, verification and approval complex Survey Plans (the resulting subdivision
is more than 9 lots or less than 9 lots if the subdivision will create road lot/s).

2. National Mapping and Resource Information Agency (NAMRIA)

NAMRIA, an agency attached to the DENR, is the principal mapping agency of the
government and is responsible for the production of thematic maps at various scales in
support of the government’s development planning, environmental management, and
multi-hazard mapping, among other programs. It is mandated to establish and maintain
the Philippine Reference System of 1992. NAMRIA also conducts forest delineation
survey to segregate A and D lands from forest and mineral lands and national parks.

3. Land Registration Authority (LRA)

LRA has limited survey approval functions on "simple subdivision" of titled or registered
lands. LRA and DENR can both approve simple survey subdivision on titled or
registered lands. A survey subdivision is considered simple subdivision when the survey
will result to the creation of not more than nine (9) lots without road lot is complex.

4. Local Governments
Cities and Municipalities also have survey and mapping functions in support of its land
use regulation and land taxation mandates. These functions are as follows:

✓ Approval of all complex subdivisions by the Sangguniang Bayan/Lungsod under the

Local Government Code;

✓ Ensure the conformity of subdivision surveys with the comprehensive land use plan
of the LGU;

✓ Receive and compile copies of all approved survey plans furnished by Geodetic
Engineers on surveys conducted within their jurisdiction; and

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✓ Maintain a system of tax mapping, showing graphically all data concerning the real
property (land and improvements).

C. System of Land Survey and Mapping in the Philippines

Land surveys in the Philippines is primarily conducted for the purpose of land
disposition and registration in support of tenure or legal hold on land. The survey of the
land is necessary before it can be disposed by the state, or titled or registered. Without
a survey, the government cannot determine with certainty the identity of the land, its
location, orientation, position, boundaries and area. Without this certainty, there is no
“object certain” that will define the physical extent of ownership or holdings which is
necessary for land as property, to be secured, protected, enjoyed or transferred to exist.

1. Persons Authorized to Conduct Land Surveys

Land surveys are conducted by surveyors who are licensed Geodetic Engineers (GE)2.
These GEs are organized into a professional organization called the "Geodetic
Engineers of the Philippines, Inc." (Republic Act No. 8560 as amended by Republic Act
No. 9200, The Philippine Geodetic Engineering Act of 1998). The practice of geodetic
engineering is a professional and organized act of gathering physical data on the
surface of the earth with the use of precision instruments. It is also the scientific and
methodical processing of these date and presenting them on graphs, plans, maps,
charts or documents (Article II, Section 2 (a), RA No. 8560).

✓ Geodetic Engineers are under the supervision of the DENR or LRA while doing land
survey works.

✓ The GE has to comply with the survey standards and the rules and regulations set
forth by the DENR under the current Manual of Surveys.

✓ The GE must obtain such survey and tenure information on records available with
the DENR or LRA as is necessary to locate or relocate the boundaries of any land to
be surveyed and to connect his or her survey to the survey system in the Manual.

✓ A GE can conduct land survey activities pursuant to Section 2 (a) of Republic Act
No. 8560 (Philippine Geodetic Engineering Act of 1998) or for works not requiring
strict legal accuracy under arrangements with a client, in such a manner as agreed
upon by them or if the survey is not intended for land registration, disposition or
tenure definition.

2 The profession was first created under Republic Act No. 4374 (An Act to Regulate the Practice of Geodetic
Engineering in the Philippines.) A Geodetic Engineer - is any person who is technically and legally qualified
to practice geodetic engineering under these laws, which term supersede “surveyor”. The practice of land
surveying was first created under the provisions of Act No. 2711 (Revised Administrative Code of 1917) with
the Bureau of Lands providing apprenticeship and accreditation of land surveyors. A board of examiners was
created under Act No. 3626 to qualify surveyors for private and cadastral surveys and mineral land
surveyors. Geodetic engineering was not recognized as a profession until the enactment of Republic Act No.
4374, the “Geodetic Engineering Law,” on June 19, 1965. Under the Act, any person who was technically
and legally qualified to practice geodetic engineering shall be called “Geodetic Engineer” superseding the
term “Surveyor.”
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✓ However, the GE must comply with the standards and the rules and regulations set
forth by the DENR, if the survey is of a class that requires approval under existing
land laws.

Geodetic Engineers, when conducting surveys that requires the approval of the DENR
or LRA, shall give due notice in advance to the adjoining owners of the property to be
surveyed of the date and hour of the survey for the protection of their rights. They are to
report all objections made by adjoining property owners or claimants during the survey
and demarcating/describing the boundaries claimed by them.

The survey plans/data sets that the survey project generates, including the maps and
plans, are also submitted to the DENR and to the LRA (simple subdivision) for approval,
before it can have full legal effects. However, GEs may prepare sketch plans that show
the indicative location, position and area of land for purposes other than land
registration without need of DENR/LRA approval.

2. Defining Legal Boundaries

Lot boundaries delineate the extent of land ownership of land owners. Boundaries
define the extent of the parcel, lot or property unit in accordance with specific standards,
rules and regulations issued by the DENR. Boundaries also help identify the land as it
will show the contiguous parcels bordering the land. Boundary lines (also commonly
called property lines) define the extent of legal limits of ownership of land parcels.
Marked boundaries are prima facie evidence of the legal extent of the ownership of
property. Marking may be through natural boundaries, survey monuments or enclosed
occupation such as fences and walls.

Generally, boundaries of land are fixed and do not move, although the interpretation of
the location of the boundary can be difficult and professional judgment may vary in its
interpretation, especially if the lots in question came from two different survey systems.

The situation with regard to “natural boundaries” formed by seas, lakes, river, etc., is
more complex as such boundaries are not fixed and are periodically moved. These
boundaries cannot be marked on the ground and are not fixed in one place but changes
position over time through slow and imperceptible accretion or erosion of the described

In built-up areas like old towns, the primary indicator of boundaries will most likely be
walls and fences. However, these can be subject to survey confirmation to ensure that
the fences were properly located before it were built and are not subject to
encroachment by the owners of the adjoining lands. In a new subdivision, the primary
indicators of land boundaries will be the survey marks place by the surveyor on the lots
or parcels. These survey marks are made of concrete monuments that conform to the
Manual of Land Surveys.

3. Survey Authority and Survey Order

If a land is still unsurveyed, a private land claimant or a public land applicant on said
land is required to secure a Survey Order or Survey Authority from the DENR before a
land survey can be conducted on the land that he claims. A Survey Authority is an
instruction issued by the authorized DENR Official to a private GE authorizing him/her
to conduct survey over a parcel of land of the public domain for a specific purpose,
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usually for land registration or public land disposition. When issued to a government
GE, the same is referred to as Survey Order. Survey Authority or Survey Order for
isolated survey less than 12 hectares are issued by the DENR Community Environment
and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). Survey authority is valid for a period of six (6)
months following its issuance. (Section 19 of Revised Regulation on Land Surveys,
DAO 2007-29).

A Survey Authority is granted under the following conditions:

✓ The parcel of land is within the A and D area;

✓ The survey is an original survey, meaning there is no existing approved survey on

the land or any ongoing cadastral or public land subdivision project;

✓ There is no existing claims or conflicts on the land;

✓ The land is outside of any existing civil, military or any other reservations; and

✓ There is no pending land registration case or pending litigation in court involving the
land or an existing public land application other than that of the Survey Authority

✓ The survey applicant must be a public land applicant (homestead, sales, free patent)
or must show that he has acquired a registerable private right recognize by the law
(i.e. acquisitive possession, prescription and accretion)

4. Cadastral and Isolated Surveys

Surveying and identifying land by boundaries is necessary before A and D land could be
disposed and registered by the government. For purposes of land disposition and
property registration, surveys can be generally divided into two (2) types – Cadastral
and Isolated.

(a) Cadastral Surveys

Cadastral surveys are conducted to determine the “metes and bounds” of all
parcels within an entire municipality or city for land registration and other
purposes (Section 5, DAO 07-29). Cadastral survey involves the survey of a
whole municipality (or an extensive portion of the same or those covering an
area of more than 1,500 hectares under Public Land Subdivision Survey) for
identifying and delineating the individual parcels of all land owners and
claimants which will be the basis of the issuance of titles or patents later. It is
intended primarily for the purpose of quieting titles to all lands within a particular
area by way of compulsory adjudication proceedings filed by the government
after the completion of the cadastral survey project. The owners of lots
surveyed must lay a claim to their land holdings and must prove their ownership
during the subsequent court proceedings. Failure on their part to do so may
give the court no choice but to declare these lands as public lands and be
disposed under the Public Land Act. All the other types of surveys are
considered isolated.

The LMB assigns the Cadastral Project Number that is unique for every
municipality or city. The cadastral project is then divided into cases with one
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barangay considered/assigned as one unique case. However, the DENR has

resorted to contracting the cadastral projects by Module, wherein one (1)
Module consists of one (1) barangay. A municipality with twelve (12) barangays
may have twelve (12) cadastral survey module contractors. All said modules will
bear the same Cadastral Survey Project Number. The first municipality that
underwent cadastral surveying is Pilar, Bataan in 1909 with Cadastral Project
Number 1 or “Cad-1” issued to it.

Every parcel of lot in a cadastral survey project is assigned a unique lot number
which will be done consecutively from Lot No. 1 without duplication. An
assigned lot number in one (1) barangay (barrio) cannot be assigned to a
certain lot in another barangay (barrio) of the covered municipality.

Once a cadastral survey project is conducted on a municipality or city, all

previous isolated surveys of parcels conducted within the area should be
integrated and reflected in the cadastral records either as accepted, amended
or rejected. If a previous survey is accepted, the surveyor will designate a new
lot number in the cadastral survey. The previous isolated survey and the lot
number of the land, however, are still indicated in the cadastral survey map for
reference purposes.

Cadastral Surveys also include the delineation of the boundaries of the various
political units (barangay, municipality, and province) as well as the boundaries
between the forested areas and A and D lands.

Cadastral maps generated by the surveys are also used as preliminary

reference in real property tax mapping and land use mapping by local

(a) Isolated Surveys

Land claimants may request for an isolated survey of his land prior to the
government initiated cadastral survey for purposes of ordinary land registration
or patent application. The government also initiates surveys of public land for
land disposition purpose such as free patent, homestead and sales. These
surveys are conducted on A and D lands of the public domain in areas where
there is no approved or existing cadastral survey or cadastral project.

Isolated surveys may contain a single lot as in the case of private survey (PSU),
free patent survey, homestead, agricultural sale or multiple lot/parcels such as
in the case of Public Land Surveys. As mentioned earlier, the approved isolated
land surveys are integrated, either as accepted or modified or rejected, once a
cadastral project is subsequently conducted in the area.

Under the present land survey manual, all surveys that are not cadastral are
categorised as isolated surveys including subsequent subdivision and
consolidation surveys of a previously surveyed land, though these may be
within a cadastral area.

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5. Narrative Technical Descriptions

The description of boundaries to the land (commonly called technical description) are
contained in various survey data sets that are generated during surveys. It includes the
surveyors field notes, lot data computations, paper maps, etc. However, description of
the land is reduced using a narrative style commonly called “Technical Description”
when the identity of the land is described in legal documents including the Patents
issued by the DENR and Certificate of Title issued by the Register of Deeds.

Technical description uses directions and distances along with physical features of the
land to define and describe the boundaries of a parcel of land.

The boundaries are described in a narrative style, working around the parcel in
sequence, using bearing and distance from a known control point (location monuments)
to a point of beginning (point 1), going to the next point or corner (point 2 and
succeeding) and finally returning to the point of beginning to create a polygon. It may
include references to other adjoining parcels (lots). The description is based on the
markings on the ground with permanent concrete monuments.

Sample of a Narrative Technical Description:

LOT 18, BLK. 15, Pcs-13-003519

A parcel of land (Lot 18, Blk. 15 of the cons. subd.

plan, Pcs-13-003519, being a portion of the consolidation
of Lots 17 Blk. 2, 15 Blk. 3, 15 Blk. 4, 15 Blk. 5, 12 Blk.
5, 15 Blk. 7, 1 & 17 Blk. 9 & 16 Blk. 12, all of
Pcs-13-001412, Lots 5 & 5-A, both of Pcs-3866 &Lot 783-A,
Psd-49419, LRC Rec. No.), situated in the Barrio of Bagbag,
City of Quezon, Province of Metro Manila, Island of Luzon.

Bounded on the S., along line 1-2 by Lot 14; along

line 2-3 by Lot 15; along line 3-4 by Lot 16; along line
4-5 by Lot 17, all of Blk. 15 of the cons. subd. plan; on
the NW., along line 5-6 by Lot 541, Piedad Estate; on the
N., along line 6-7 by Lot 12 of Blk. 15 and on the E.,
along line 7-1 by Road Lot 6, both of the cons. subd. plan.

Beginning at a point marked "1" on plan, being S. 85

deg. 37' E., 1,305.16 m. from LM No. 20, Piedad Estate.

thence Due West, 13.00 m. to point 2;

thence Due West, 10.00 m. to point 3;
thence Due West, 10.00 m. to point 4;
thence S. 65 deg. 10' E., 6.5 m. to point 5;
thence N. 40 deg. 35’E., 16.78 m. to point 6;
thence Due East, 16.16 m. to point 7;
thence Due South, 10.00 m. to the point of;

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beginning, containing an area of THREE HUNDRED THIRTY

FOUR (334) SQUARE METERS, more or less. All points referred
to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground
by P.S. cyl. conc. Mons 15x60 cms; bearings True; Date of
the original survey, July 1 – Dec. 14, 1907 and that of the
cons. subd. survey on May 20-30, 1988.

6. Survey Maps and Records 3

Survey records may be found generally at the Survey Records sections of government
land agencies. In the DENR, survey records are with the Technical Records Section,
Survey Division of the DENR Regional Office. The LMB only retains some survey
records, mostly duplicates, after it decentralised its records to the DENR Regional
Offices. In LRA, survey records are with the Subdivision and Consolidation Division.

Large scale government surveys such as cadastral surveys generate the following
survey records:

✓ Cadastral Maps indicating individual parcels and their actual geographic position;

✓ Lot Data Computation Books;

✓ Lot Description Books;

✓ Monument Description Books;

✓ Technical Description (TD) of all lots within the Cadastre;

✓ Geographic Positions of Reference Points;

✓ Land Use Maps and Land Use Registers;

✓ Political Boundary Maps;

✓ Tax Maps used for Realty Tax Valuation/Collection;

✓ List of all claimants/occupants or owners of lands; and

✓ Cadastral Cost Registers.

Below are some of the commonly used large scale maps that establish land ownership
and support land titling and registration.

3Reminder: The lot/s on survey plans and land titles are stated in a simple plane that adjusted the curvature
of the earth in order to present the parcel in a two dimensional map. The adjustments sometimes create
seeming overlap when projected against the map of a different contiguous parcel plan from a different survey
system. It is advisable for land buyer to engage the services of a Geodetic Engineer in order to be sure
where the true boundaries of the land lies. Incurring this survey expense makes good sense to any land
buyers or mortgagee.
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(a) Land Classification (LC) Maps

These maps are generated by the land classification unit of the DENR/NAMRIA/
FMB after delineation survey is conducted, to ascertain the extent of A and D
lands of the public domain.

(b) Cadastral Maps

These maps are generated by cadastral surveys executed by the DENR for
purposes of land titling. It covers all parcels of an entire or large portion of
municipality. There is also a list of cadastral claimants per lot that is submitted
by the surveyor to DENR as part of the survey data set. All land parcels are
given a unique parcel identifier (by lot number). Cadastral maps are not updated
once it is approved. Subsequent changes to the parcels are not reflected in the
approved cadastral map.

(c) Subdivision Maps

These are parcel maps derived from subdivisions of isolated survey plans and
isolated cadastral lots. All derivative parcels of the subdivision are assigned a
unique lot number that follows the sequence of the original or "mother lot", i.e.
Lot 1 to Lot 1-A, Lot 1-B, and so forth.

(d) Tax Maps

These maps are generated by the Assessor's Office of the LGU for purposes of
identifying land parcels for land taxation (real property tax). A unique parcel
identifier (Property Index Number) is assigned to each parcel within the
municipality. Updating of the map is done by the tax mapping section of the
Assessor's Office, based from subdivision/consolidation survey plans of GEs
submitted to the LGU. The initial component of LGU tax maps are mostly
derived from DENR cadastral maps.

(e) Cadastral Digital Database (DCDB)

Are computerize maps or spatial representation showing land parcels in the
locality. The Digital Cadastre DataBase (DCDB) is the spatial representation of
the land parcels and land use/administrative/political boundaries in a locality.
The DCDB generates an computerized map base that is used in storing related
information on land and at the same time, can generate hard copy of different
map products for the public. The parcels are generated by computer programs
that convert numerical survey data sets or by digitizing existing paper maps.
DCDB usually consists of layers of different spatial representation of land
boundaries that can include administrative boundaries such as LGU
boundaries, proclaimed areas and reservations, land use, roads, natural
features, etc. that can be overlaid and used for land management purposes,
taxation or land tilting and registration

7. Court Determination of Land Boundaries

Actual occupation and described measurement of the ownership in documents
or titles may be conflicting. If the description of the boundary is ambiguous or
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otherwise uncertain, or is in conflict with the occupations, courts may settle the
position of the disputed boundary. The actual location of any boundary, when
disputed, should be subject to the evidence of an on-ground assessment of the
land in relation to survey records, and is best undertaken by a GE.

Where any two or more boundary features or descriptions present conflicting

evidence in the determination of the true boundary position, the courts usually
favor long, acquiescent and undisturbed occupation dating to the time of the
survey as the most convincing evidence of a boundary between properties. As
a rule though, when a property is described by “metes and bounds”, the
described bounds (abuttals) take priority over the stated measurements. What
really defines a piece of land is not the area, calculated with more or less
certainty mentioned in the description, but the boundaries as enclosing the land
and indicating its limits. However, special circumstances may lead courts to
give more weight to other evidence presented.

In determining the boundary of the land, the court may consider the following
physical features and survey marks and descriptions:

✓ Monumented lines (boundaries marked by survey or other defining marks,

natural or artificial);

✓ Adjoining boundaries, i.e. contiguous lots, natural or artificial features such

as a street or road;

✓ Statement of length, bearing or directions (“Metes” or measurements in the

described direction); and

✓ Actual occupation.

A GE is not the final arbiter of boundaries which are under dispute between
owners. This is within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The GE’s role in
these matters is one of fact-finder and expert witness, providing the evidence of
what the boundaries are or how it was derived, upon which the court will make
the judgment.


23) Golloy v. Court of Appeals, (G.R. No. 47491, May 4, 1989)

24) Cambridge Realty and Resources Corporation vs. Eridanus Development, Inc.
and Chiton Realty Corp., (G.R. No. 152445, July 4, 2008)

25) Felipe de Guzman vs. Manuel de Santos, (G.R. No. 6609.  December 2, 1911)

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IV. Modes of Acquiring Title to Public Lands

A. Ownership of land must be traced to a government land grant
Regalian doctrine all lands belong to the State. Private lands must be able to trace it’s
root to a grant coming from the State.

What are Public Land Laws?

The term pubic land laws is ordinarily used to refer to statutes governing the alienation
of public lands, and is distinguished both from “mining laws” and “forest laws” both of
which refers to laws governing mineral and forest lands. The subject is covered by
several statutes but the principal law under this jurisdiction is the Public Land Act
(Commonwealth Act No. 141, 1936).

1. Direct Grants (Homestead, Sales, Free Patent)

Public land is disposed or conveyed by the State to a public land applicant through a
land patent; land is considered as public land; applicant is qualified; applicant must
comply with the condition before the grant is awarded by the State and caused its

In public land law, disposal often refers to that final and irrevocable act by which the
right of a person, purchaser, or grantee, attaches, and an equitable right becomes
complete to receive legal title by parent or other appropriate mode of transfer, and until
that at the land is not disposed of.

A patent is an instrument by which the Republic of the Philippines conveys title to public
land and the issuance of this is a pre-requisite for the transfer of rights from the State to
the public land applicant. Prior to the issuance of the patent, legal title remains in the
government until the patent is issued but the equitable title being in the public land
applicant prior to that time.

Public lands are disposed by homestead, sale or free patent

Effect of Patent

A patent is the highest evidence of title and wit it possess all control of the State over
the land. Indefeasibility.

2. Indirect Grants (Prescription, Accretion and Accession)

Public land becomes ipso facto (by operation of law) private lands; the state did not
directly award the land (no award of land patent), person acquires the land upon
fulfillment of certain conditions; merely confirms the title during the proceedings where it
is determined, during a court hearing that applicant has qualification and has complied
with all the conditions necessary for confirmation of title.

Early Land Grants

It is a matter of history that public lands is comprise of areas of the public domain that
were acquired by the present Philippine State from the United States and Spain by
discovery and conquest. Land granted by Spain to private persons during its reign were
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never became part of the public domain. The validity and effect of grants by a
superseded government, of lands ceded to the US are determined by the laws of the
superseded government as they existed at the time of the grant. In making inquiries
with respect to such grants, the courts may judicially notice the laws which formally
prevailed in countries acquired by the US up to the time of such acquisition. As to such
countries, they are not deemed foreign laws, but the law of the antecedent government.
4In considering the validity of Mexican grants, the Texas court may consider Mexican

civil law, as adopted by Texas.5

3. Land Grants Excludes Minerals

Constitutional limitation. All natural resources are owned by the State (Article XII, 1987
Constitution). All public land patents issued to applicants does not convey title to all
kinds of mineral resources as the same remain to be property of the State. (Section 110,

B. Jurisdiction of the DENR

The administration and disposition of public lands are committed by law to the Director
of Lands primarily, and ultimately to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The DENR has jurisdiction to determine the qualification of the applicant and his/her
compliance with the conditions necessary for the issuance of a patent.

Conflicts between Applicants

In case of conflicts, between rival claimants or applicants on public lands, the

jurisdiction of the Bureau of Lands is confined to the determination of who between
them has a superior rights over the lands.

The jurisdiction of courts is limited to the determination of who has the actual, physical
possession or occupation of the land in question (in forcible entry cases, before
municipal courts) or, the better right of possession (in accion publiciana, in cases before
the Court of First Instance, now Regional Trial Court).

Conflicts between Applicant and a Person Claiming Private Title

Statutory Construction

C. General Conditions Necessary for the Issuance of a Land Patent

(Direct Grant)
The general conditions for Provided under Section 8 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 or
the Public Land Act.

4 29 Am Jur 2d, Evidence § § 30, 50

5Heard v Refugio, 129 Tex 349, 103 SW2d 728

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1. Alienable and Disposable Lands

a) Definition - Alienable and disposable lands refer to those lands of the public
domain which have been the subject of the present system of classification and
declared as not needed for forest purposes.

b) Under Act No. 926 (1903) - Spanish grants are deemed private lands and not
subject to classification; Section 19 of Act No. 496, titles in fee simple;

c) Confirmation of Imperfect Titles applied under Spain, agricultural but court

determines suitability; (Section 48 of Act No. 926)

d) Public land disposition on lands suitable for agriculture as certified by the forestry

e) Under Act No. 2874 (1919) - Present system of land classification of public land
was introduced;

(1) Blocks of lands pre-classified even prior to disposition

(2) Classification of land as a legal object;

(3) Private lands and lands for confirmation of title not subject to classification,
land registration court makes determination

f) Under Republic Act No. 3872 (1964) - Cultural minorities can have titles to Non A
and D Lands

g) Under Section 4, Presidential Decree No. 1073 (1977) - Confirmation of Titles

Limited in A and D Lands only)

h) Under Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 - Ancestral Domain as private

property of IP.

2. Surveyed and Delineated

No survey no title - land survey is the means to determine the relative location and
area of land for purposes of property identification.

3. Not for Public or Quasi-Public Use or Appropriated by the Government.

4. Not private lands

a) The land must not be private property, nor on which a private right authorized and
recognized by this act or any valid law may be claimed (Sec. 8, CA No. 141). If
land is private already, the owner must file an application for registration of land
ownership; See Judicial confirmation of imperfect title

b) Option of land owner is to obtain “free patent” if qualified. The owner is deemed to
have waived his ownership over the land in favour of the State and thus can file a
public land application for free patent. There is an area limit if the land is public
land (12 hectares under the 1987 Constitution) since it is a public land grant.

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c) Patrimonial Property of the Government; Disposition is under Act No. 3038

through Sale

5. Restrictions and limitations on Transfers of Land Patents

a) Commonwealth Act No. 141 (Sections 118, 119, 120, 121 and 123)

b) Presidential Decree No. 2004 (Section 2)

c) Republic Act No. 10023 (Section 5)

6. Area limitation under the Constitution and the law

✓ Under the Philippine Bill of 1902 - 16 hectares

✓ Under 1936 Constitution - 24 hectares

✓ Under 1973 Constitution - 24 hectares

✓ Under 1987 Constitution - 12 hectares

6. Qualification of Applicant

(a) Citizenship
Only citizens of the Philippines can be a grantee of public land; Non-Citizen
cannot be a grantee of public land; In Free Patent, it is required that the
applicant is a natural born citizen of the Philippines. Corporations not allowed
since 1973 to acquire public lands, however, a corporation can lease public
lands up to 1,000 hectares (1987 Constitution)

In registration of lands, corporations are allowed to register lands that has

already been acquired by its predecessor through indirect grant; rationale - the
land is already private when acquired and is not part of the public domain
anymore. Registration does not confirm ownership. See Judicial Confirmation of

(b) Age
In general, there is no age limitation in public land grants; except in homestead,
the applicant must be 18 years or head of Family if minor

C. Public Land Grants in Agricultural Lands

1. Homestead - Title II, Chapter III, Sections 12 to 21 of Commonwealth Act
No. 141
a) Patent issued to frontier lands and newly released A and D lands where no
possessory rights exists

b) Upon approval of homestead application, homesteader is allowed to enter and

cultivate A & D lands

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c) Grant of homestead patent is conditioned upon entry, occupation, improvement,

cultivation (1/5 of the land), residency (1 year) and final proof within 5 years

d) Homesteader cannot use share tenancy in complying with the conditions (1973)
under Presidential Decree No. 152

e) Original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original
homestead at the time of the approval of CARL keeps to retain the same areas as
long as they continue to cultivate the homestead under Section 6 of RA No. 6657
as amended.

2. Sales - Title II, Chapter IV, Sections 22 to 32 of Commonwealth Act No.

a) Upon approval of application, land is appraised and notice is made by publication
for bidding on the land;

b) Conditioned upon appraisal, bidding, entry, cultivation and payment.

c) Payment by 10 equal yearly installment is allowed

3. Lease - Title II, Chapter V, Sections 33 to 43 of Commonwealth Act No.

a) Corporations can lease up to 1,000 hectares

b) Private individuals (citizens) up to 500 hectares;

c) Appraisal, bidding, entry, payment

4. Free Patent - Title II, Chapter VI, Sections 44 to 46 of Commonwealth Act

No. 141.
a) Conditioned upon occupation/possession and payment of real property taxes for a
certain period

b) Last amendment on the requirements for free patent under Republic Act No.
6940; continuously occupied and cultivation and payment real property tax for 30
years prior to 1990)

c) Filing of application up to 2020 only (Republic Act No. 9176, Extending Free

D. Public Land Grants In Residential, Commercial, Industrial Lands

1. Sales - under Title III, Chapter VIII, Sections 60 to 68 of Commonwealth
Act No 141;
a) Same as agricultural sale;

b) Appraisal; bidding; entry; introduction of improvements; and payment

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2. Republic Act No. 730 (1952) - Direct sale of residential lands subject to
a) Any citizen of legal age, not the owner of a home lot in the municipality or city; in
good faith established his residence on a parcel; not needed for the public
service; private or direct sale (appraisal but no bidding); not more than one
thousand square meters; occupants has constructed his house on the land and
actually resided therein. 10% payment upon approval balance may be paid in full,
or in ten equal annual installments; restriction on transfer 15 years;

b) Restriction was removed under PD No. 2004 (1985)

3. Batas Pambansa Bilang 223 (1982-1987) - limited residential free patent

a) Conditions - any citizen, not a registered owner of a residential land in 5th class
municipalities, has been actually residing on, and continuously possessing and
occupying, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, paid all the real
estate taxes thereon since June 12, 1945, and not to exceed 3,000 sqm;

b) Not applicable in cities, and in in first class, second class third class, and fourth
class municipalities, and in townsite reservations;

c) Law expires in 1987 without being extended

4. Republic Act No. 10023 (2010) - Residential Free Patent Law

a) Conditions - any citizen; actual occupant, resided under a bona fide claim of
ownership for 10 years; land not needed for public service and/or public use; all
lands zoned as residential; townsites included; delisted military reservation or
abandoned military camp included; actual survey; two supporting affidavits of
disinterested person(residents)

b) Applies to all cities and municipalities

D. Restrictions on Patents
Patents issued by the government are subject to the following restrictions:

1. On Transfers and Conveyances

✓ Free patents and homestead patents issued by the government are subject to
restrictions regarding transfer and mortgage under Sections 118, 119, 120, 121 and
122 of the present Public Land Act.

✓ Sales patents on the other hand are covered by Sections 121 and 122.

✓ A qualified restrictions on all patents sold be national cultural minorities are covered
by Section 120.

✓ Republic Act No. 730 that provides for the direct sale of residential lands has
restrictions on transfer and encumbrance of 15 years, however, the same was
removed by Presidential Decree No. 2004 in 1985 declaring that paragraph 2 of the
said law is too onerous and prevents utilization of the land.

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✓ Republic Act No. 10023 altogether removed the restrictions that are attached to Free
Patents under Section 5.

✓ The policy of the government recently is to encourage he development of formal

land market by making the titles to the land tradable.

2. Easements and Servitudes

✓ The land patented shall likewise be subject to public servitudes that exist upon lands
owned by private persons, including those with reference to the littoral of the sea
and the banks of navigable rivers (Section 111, PLA).

✓ The state likewise reserves a right of way not exceeding sixty (60) meters for public
highways, railroads, irrigation, ditches, aqueducts, telegraph and telephone lines
and similar works as the government or any public or quasi-public service or
enterprise including mining or forest concessionaires, may reasonably require for
carrying on its business, with damages to improvements only.

✓ Republic Act No. 1273 amended Section 90 of the PLA and provided that a strip
forty (40) meters wide starting from the bank on each side of any river or stream that
may be found on the land patented shall be demarcated and preserved as
permanent timberland to be planted exclusively to trees of known economic value,
and that the grantee shall not make any clearing thereon or utilize the same for
ordinary farming purposes even after patent shall have been issued to him or a
contract of lease shall have been executed in his favor.


29)Balboa vs. Farrales, G.R. No. L-27059, February 14, 1928;

30) Republic vs. Diamonon, G.R. No. L-7813, October 31, 1955;

31)Mejia vs. Mapa, G.R. No. L-7042, May 28, 1954

32) Diaz and Reyes vs. Macalinao, et al, 102 Phil. 999

33) Dauan vs. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 19 SCRA 223

34) Pascua vs. Talens, G.R. No. L-348 April 30, 1948

35) Simeon v. Peña, GR No. L-29049, December 29, 1970;

36) Benzonan vs CA, 97998, January 27, 1992

37) Vargas and Vargas vs. Court of Appeals, GR No. L-35666, June 29, 1979

38) Santana and Panganiban vs. Mariñas, GR No. L-35537, December 27, 1979

39) Bajenting, et al. vs. Bañes, et al., GR No. 166190, September 20, 2006

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E. Title Obtained by Operations of Law (Section 14, PD No. 1529)

1. General Considerations
a) Title was obtained not by registration but “by operations of law” under the
assumption that the occupant of the land is qualified and has complied with the
conditions set forth. The law creates a legal fiction whereby the land, upon
completion of the requisite period ipso jury and without the need of judicial or
other sanction, ceases to be public land and become private property.

b) The title is vested to the ipso facto but it has to be confirmed by the State and

c) The land must be alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. Section 4
of PD No. 1073 (1977) amending Section 48 (b) and (c) and Judicial confirmation
of imperfect title based on unperfected Spanish grants are no longer allowed.
Adopted in PD No. 1529, Section 14 (a) in 1978.

2. Concept of Adverse Possession & Prescription

To constitute the foundation of prescriptive rights, possession must be under the
claim of title and adverse to all other claimants (open, continuous, exclusive,
notorious possession). Must be adverse and not merely tolerated. Prescription -
prescription does not run against the government except when it is provided by law;
does not run on registered land. It is sufficient that the land is A and D at the time of
application, the period of possession prior to declaration of A and D is included. Old
view: time when the land is still inalienable is excluded in computing period of
adverse possession.

F. Section 14, Paragraph (a) Open, continuous, exclusive and notorious

possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the
public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12,
1945, or earlier;
a) In 1976 all holders of Spanish titles or grants should apply for registration of their
lands under Act No. 496 within six (6) months afterwards Spanish titles cannot be
used as evidence of land ownership in any registration proceedings under the
Torrens system P.D. No. 892;

b) In 1977 lands that are not declared alienable and disposable are no longer
included however long the possession of the applicant was; judicial confirmation
of incomplete titles to public land based on unperfected Spanish under the laws
and royal decrees in force prior to the transfer or sovereignty from Spain to the
United States are disallowed (Presidential Decree No. 1073);

c) Period of possession before declaration of A and D is not important for disposition

as long as the land is A and D at the time of application (Heirs of Malabanan v.
Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. 179987, April 29, 2009).

d) Evidence to Prove Adverse Possession

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e) Tax Declarations - Not conclusive evidence of ownership but are good indicia of
possession in the concept of the owner. It is at least a proof that the holder has a
claim of title over the property. It announces the tax payer’s adverse claim against
the State and other interested parties.

G. Section 14, Paragraph (b) - Those who have acquired ownership of

private lands by prescription under the provision of existing laws;
a) Prescription of thirty (30) years begins from the moment the State expressly
declares that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service
or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted
into patrimonial6 ;


40) Republic vs. de Guzman, 326 SCRA 574 (old view) Alienable and Disposable vs.
Time of Application for Registration

41) Malabanan vs. Court of Appeals

42) San Miguel Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 185 SCRA 722 (1990).

43)Director of Lands vs. IAC and Acme Plywood and Veneer Co. Inc. G.R. No.
73002, December 29, 1986)

44)Susana Meguinto, et al. vs. Republic of the Philippines, GR No. 134308,

December 14, 2000).

45) Republic vs. de Guzman, 326 SCRA 574

46) Republic of the Philippines vs. East Silverland Realty Development Corporation;
G.R. No. 186961, February 20, 2012;

47) Tan, et al. vs. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. 193443, April 16, 2012.

H. Section 14, Paragraph (c) - Right of accession or accretion;

1. Article 457 of Civil Code to the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong
the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the
waters; Law Of The Waters - the accretion resulting from the gradual deposit by or
sedimentation from the waters belongs to the owners of the land bordering on
streams, torrents, lakes, or rivers;

2. By law, accretion - the gradual and imperceptible deposit made through the effects
of the current of the water belongs to the owner of the land adjacent to the banks of
rivers where it forms. The drying up of the river is not accretion. Hence, the dried-up
river bed belongs to the State as property of public dominion, not to the riparian
owner; they are not open to registration under the Land Registration Act. The
adjudication of the lands in as private property is null and void.

6Section14(2) is patrimonial property as defined in Article 421 in relation to Articles 420 and 422 of the Civil
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3. Ownership over the accretion received by the land adjoining a river is governed by
the Civil Code; but land has to be registered otherwise it can be lost by reason of
prescription and/or occupation of others;


48) Maximo Cortes vs. City Of Manila, G.R. No. L-4012, March 25, 1908

49)Republic vs. C.A. and Tancinco, et al., G.R. No. L-61647 October 12, 1984;

50) Republic vs. Santos III and Santos, Jr., November 12, 2012, 2012G.R. No.

51) Ignacio Grande vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-17652, June 30, 1962

D. Section 14, Paragraph (d) - Those who have acquired ownership of

land in any other manner provided for by law.
E. Title issued under CARP (Republic Act No. 6657, as amended by
Republic Act No. 9700)
1. Coverage
All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for
agriculture. All other lands owned by the Government devoted to or suitable for
agriculture; and All private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the
agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon.

2. Exemptions and Exclusions. (Section 10, RA No. 6657)

Lands actually, directly and exclusively used for parks, wildlife, forest reserves,
reforestation, fish sanctuaries and breeding grounds, watersheds and mangroves;
private lands used for prawn farms and fishponds; lands used and necessary for
national defense, school sites and campuses, public or private schools for educational
purposes, seeds and seedlings research and pilot production center, church sites and
convents appurtenant, mosque sites and Islamic centers, communal burial grounds and
cemeteries, penal colonies and penal farms actually worked by the inmates,
government and private research and quarantine centers and all lands with eighteen
percent (18%) slope and over, except those already developed.

3. Retention Limits Land Area

a) Retention by the landowner shall not exceed five (5) hectares.

b) Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the
following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that
he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm.

c) Landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall
be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder;

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d) Original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original
homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as
long as they continue to cultivate said homestead.

4. Ceiling of Award to Beneficiaries

Not exceeding three (3) hectares, which may cover a contiguous tract of land or several
parcels of land cumulated up to the prescribed award limits. A landless beneficiary is
one who owns less than three (3) hectares of agricultural land.

5. Transferability of Awarded Lands

CLOAs cannot be sold, transferred or conveyed for ten (10) years except by:

a) Hereditary succession;

b) To the government

c) To the Land Bank

d) Other qualified beneficiaries through the DAR.

6. Repurchase
Children or the spouse of the transferor within a period of two (2) years (Sold to the
Government and Land Bank)

7. Collective Titles
Option provided that the total area that may be awarded shall not exceed the total
award limit of all beneficiary. Title to the property shall be issued in the name of the co-
owners or the cooperative or collective organization as the case may be. If the
certificates of land ownership award are given to cooperatives then the names of the
beneficiaries must also be listed in the same certificate of land ownership award.


52) DOJ OPINION NO. 100, s. 2012, November 13, 2012

K. Title issued under IPRA Law

1. Identification and delineation of Ancestral Domain

2. Issuance of Ancestral Domain Certificate of Title

3. Ancestral Domain and the Regalian Doctrine


53) Cruz vs. DENR Secretary, GR No. 135385, December 6, 2000

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VI. Procedure and Processes

A. Public Land Applications
1. General Rules
The right to lands disposed by the State through patents are administratively
determined during the public land application process. The process is not adversarial
since the applicant does not claim private ownership on the land. The applicant in public
land applications is asking the State for a land grant base on Article XII of the
Constitution that allows citizens to received alienable and disposable lands, subject to
certain conditions, from the State by way of homestead, sale or grants. It is conditioned
generally on the utilization of the land for productive purposes.

During the process of adjudication, the applicant establishes his/her personal

qualification and proves his/her fulfilment of the conditions necessary for the issuance of
the particular grant or patent that he/she applied for.

The government agency that handles the adjudication process is the DENR under
Commonwealth Act No. 141 (Public Land Act) as amended, Republic Act No. 10023
(Residential Free Patent Law) and Republic Act No. 730 (Direct Sale of Residential
Lands). Generally, the DENR has exclusive jurisdiction over the disposition of lands of
the public domain in the absence of specific legislation to the contrary.

Public land applications are processed at the DENR Community Environment and
Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and patents are generally signed and issued by the
DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO). The approved
and signed patents are transmitted to the Register of Deeds of the province or city by
the DENR for registration (Section 103 of PD No. 1529). Application for a public land
grant is administrative in nature although the DENR is exercising in the process quasi-
judicial powers when adjudicating applications and has authority to to determine
conflicting claims of applicants and occupants of public land (Section 102, PLA) subject
to judicial review in case of fraud, imposition or mistake, other than error of judgment in
estimating the value or effect of evidence.

The authority to sign patents is generally vested to the President of the Philippines as
Chief Executive. Throughout the years, however, the signing of patent was
decentralised by Congress to the different levels within the bureaucracy of the DENR.
Under E.O. No. 192 (1987) reorganizing and the integration of the different Bureaus
under the in the Regional/Field Office Set-up, the Secretary of the newly organized
DENR was given a general mandate to implement public land laws, with powers to
delegate includes the power to sign patents and to delegate the same to such officers
as he may deem fit. At present, up to 5 hectares (PENRO), more than 5 but not
exceeding 10 (RED), in excess of 10 (Secretary). Under Republic Act No. 10023, the
authority to sign patent was specifically delegated by Congress to the PENRO (Section
6, RA No. 10023).

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2. Processes and procedure are governed by administrative orders,

circulars and manuals; below is a summary of the process:

(a) Survey of the Land

✓ Survey is a requirement before public lands can be disposed to private
persons under the different public land laws.

✓ Survey is necessary in order to identify the land and delineates its


✓ DENR has records of all approved land surveys. If the land has no
approved survey, the applicant must request for a survey authority from
the DENR in order to have the land surveyed by a private geodetic

✓ If the land is unsurveyed, the applicant may file the Public Land
Application first and thereafter request for a survey authority/order to
delineate his/her claim.

✓ The DENR sometimes conduct simultaneous survey and adjudication of

land (systematic adjudication process).

(b) Filing of Application (CENRO)

✓ Non-lawyers can file and process public land applications (PLA) since
the procedure is non-technical, informal and not adversarial. DENR
personnel assist PLA applicants in the accomplishment of forms and
gathering of documents, evidence and certifications in support of the

✓ Public Land Applications are submitted under oath; DENR officers may
administer oath to applicants when filing an application

✓ A representative with Special Power of Attorney may file in behalf of the


✓ Application must be complete including all documentary requirements to

enable the land examiner and/or inspector to evaluate the application.

(c) Examination of the Applicant for Personal Qualification to own

public land
✓ Check the nationality of the applicant

✓ Check land holdings of the applicant in the land allocation record book

(d) Examination and Inspection of the Land

✓ Ocular Inspection by the Land Inspector to check status (A & D), actual
use of the land and to validate if there are claims or conflicts on the

✓ Notice of the application shall be posted by the DENR

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✓ Prepare Inspection Report by the Public Land Inspector

✓ Inspection report must be approved by the Land Management Officer

(e) Approval of application

✓ In Free Patents, upon approval of application, a patent is prepared at the
CENRO for signing of the PENRO

✓ In Homestead, upon approval of the application, an entry permit is issued

allowing the homesteader to enter, occupy and cultivate the land upon
payment of the entry fee.

• Final Proof upon completion of the 1/5 cultivation requirement has to be

filed by the homesteader

• Re-investigation and preparation of Re-investigation report, (Cultivation,

residency, etc) upon filing of the filial proof

✓ In Ordinary Sales, upon approval of the application, the land shall be

appraised and the sale shall be published for bidding.

• The land shall be awarded to the highest bidder.

• The applicant, however, can match the highest bid to secure the

• Upon full payment (10 equal yearly instalment is allowed), the DENR
shall inspect the land to check compliance and shall prepare a re-
investigation report;

✓ In Direct Sale under Republic Act No. 730, upon approval of the
application, the land shall be appraised by an Appraisal Committee at the

• There is no bidding under RA No. 730

• The appraisal has to be approved by the DENR Secretary before an

Order of Payment shall be issued.

• Upon full payment (10 equal yearly instalment is allowed), the DENR
shall inspect the land to check compliance and shall prepare a re-
investigation report;

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(f) Approval and Signing of the Patent

Approval and signing of Patents under E.O. No. 192 (1987), the
Secretary of the DENR was given a general mandate to implement
public land laws including the power to delegate the signing of
patents. At present, the signing authority is as follows: up to 5
hectares (PENRO), more than 5 but not exceeding 10 (RED), in
excess of 10 (Secretary). But under Republic Act No. 10023, the
PENRO is specifically designated by the law as the final approving
officer of Residential Free Patents.

(g) Transmission to the Register of Deeds of the Patent by the

Approving Officer (See Section 103, PD No. 1529)

It is the duty of the approving officer to transmit the Patent to the

Register of Deeds for registration. Applicants, however, shall pay the
necessary registration fees before the registered patents are
released to them.


(55) Geukeko vs. Araneta (G.R. No. L-10182, December 24, 1957; 102 Phil 706)

(56) Ortua vs. Encarnacion, G.R. No. 39919, January 30, 1934;

(57) Custodio Mari vs. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (G.R. No.
L-5622, December 29, 1952);

(58) Mauleon vs. Court of Appeals, (G.R. No. L-27762, August 7, 1975)

B. Confirmation of Imperfect Title

1. General Rules
Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in
rem and shall be based on the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens

Powers of the Land Registration Authority

a) Section 6 of PD 1529

b) Register of Deeds, see Section 10 of PD 1529

Ordinary vs. Cadastral Proceedings

Ordinary is isolated and voluntary - pertains to isolated parcel of land initiated

voluntarily by the land owner/occupant

Cadastral is mass and compulsory - pertains to a proceedings covering all the

parcels in the municipality/city; initiated by the government

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2. Ordinary Registration Procedure (See Section 14 to 30 PD No. 1529)

a) Filing of the application (Regional Trial Court, BP No. 129)

b) Issuance of an Order setting the date and hour of the Initial

hearing which shall not be earlier than forty-five days nor later
than ninety days from the date of the order.

a) Notices
✓ Publication Official Gazette;

✓ Mailing; and

✓ Posting.

b) Filing of Opposition
✓ Any person claiming an interest may appear and file an opposition on or
before the date of initial hearing or anytime as may be allowed by the
court. The opposition shall state all the objections to the application and
shall set forth the interest claimed by the party; the remedy desired;
signed and sworn;

c) Initial/Jurisdictional hearing
✓ Applicant presents evidence of compliance to the order of the court for
notices on the setting of initial hearing; court will ask if there are

d) Order of Default
✓ If no person appears and answers, upon motion of the applicant the court
may order a default to be recorded and require the applicant to present
evidence. But when an appearance has been entered and an answer
filed, a default order shall be entered against persons who did not appear
and answer.

e) Hearing/Referee/Commissioner -
✓ The court may hear the case (applicant presents evidence; oppositors
presents evidence) or refer the case or any part to a referee; hearing at
any place within the province; submit his report thereon to the court within
fifteen days after the termination of such hearing. Court may adopt the
report or set it aside for further proceedings;

f) Judgement -
✓ Within ninety (90) days from the date the case is submitted for decision.
The Court, after considering the evidence and the reports of the
Commissioner of Land Registration and the Director of Lands, finds that
the applicant or the oppositor has sufficient title proper for registration,
judgment shall be rendered confirming the title of the applicant, or the
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oppositor, to the land. Becomes final upon the expiration of thirty (30)
days to be counted from the data of receipt of notice of the judgment. An
appeal may be taken from the judgment of the court as in ordinary civil

✓ Partial Judgement - All conflicting claims of ownership and interest in the

land subject of the application determined by the court but the court may
render partial judgement where only a portion of the land is contested.

g) Issuance of Decree
✓ After judgment has become final and executory, the court issue an order
to LRA for the issuance of the decree of registration and the
corresponding certificate of title in favor of the person adjudged entitled to

h) Transmission of the Decree to the Register of Deeds

3. Cadastral Registration Proceedings (Sections 35-38 of PD No. 1529)

a) Cadastral Survey of the Land

✓ Order of the Director of Lands to cause a cadastral survey of the lands and
the plans and technical description be prepared.

✓ First Notice - Notice to persons claiming any interest in the lands as well as
to the general public of the survey, giving as fully and accurately as possible
the description of the lands By Publication once in the Official Gazette

• Posting in a conspicuous place on the bulletin board of the municipal

building of the municipality in which the lands or any portion thereof is

• Notice to the mayor of such municipality as well as to the barangay

captain and likewise to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the
Sangguniang Bayan concerned.

✓ Second Notice - Notice of the date on which the survey of any portion of
such lands by posting in the bulletin board of the municipal building of the
municipality or barrio in which the lands are situated by the GE or DENR.

✓ Duty of the Geodetic Engineer - To enter upon the lands for the purpose of
the survey; and to mark the boundaries of the lands by monuments set up in
proper places thereon.

✓ Duty of the claimant/s - communicate with the Geodetic Engineer upon his
request for all information possessed by such person concerning the
boundary lines of any lands to which he claims title or in which he claims any

✓ Penalty: Any person who shall wilfully obstruct the making of any survey
undertaken by the Bureau of Lands or by a licensed Geodetic Engineer duly
authorized to conduct the survey under this Section, or shall maliciously
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interfere with the placing of any monument or remove such monument, or

shall destroy or remove any notice of survey posted on the land pursuant to
law, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand pesos or by
imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

b) Filing of Petition by DENR

✓ After the survey the DENR thorough the Solicitor General shall institute
original registration proceedings by filing a petition in Regional Trial Court of
the place where the land is situated against the holders, claimants,
possessors, or occupants of such lands stating that such titles to the land be
settled and adjudicated.

✓ Contents:

• A description of the lands and shall be accompanied by a plan; and

• May contain such other data as may serve to furnish full notice to the
occupants of the lands and to all persons who may claim any right or
interest therein.

• Where the land consists of two or more parcels held or occupied by

different persons, the plan shall indicate the boundaries of the parcels

• The parcels shall be known as "lots" and shall on the plan filed in the
case be given separate numbers by the Director of Lands, which numbers
shall be known as "cadastral lot numbers”.

• The lots situated within each municipality shall be numbered

consecutively beginning with number one and only one series of numbers
shall be used. However in cities or townsites, a designation of the
landholdings by blocks and lot numbers may be employed instead of the
designation by cadastral lot numbers.

• The cadastral number of a lot shall not be changed after final decision
has been entered decreasing the registration thereof, except by order of
court. Future subdivisions of any lot shall be designated by a letter or
letters of the alphabet added to the cadastral number of the lot to which
the respective subdivisions pertain. The letter with which a subdivision is
designated shall be known as its "cadastral letter": Provided, however,
that the subdivisions of cities or townsites may be designated by blocks
and lot numbers.

c) Answer
✓ Any claimant in cadastral proceedings, whether named in the notice or not,
shall appear before the court and shall file an answer on or before the date
of initial hearing or within such further time as may be allowed by the court
and shall state:

• Marital status;

• Name of the spouse and the date of marriage,

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• Nationality

• Residence and postal address, and

• The age

• The cadastral number of the lot or lots claimed

• The name of the barrio and municipality in which the lots are situated;

• The names and addresses of the owners of the adjoining lots so far as
known to the claimant;

• If the claimant is in possession of the lots claimed and can show no

express grant of the land by the government, the answer shall state the
length of time he has held such possession and the manner in which it
has been acquired;

• If the claimant is not in possession or occupation of the land, the answer

shall fully set forth the interest claimed by him and the time and manner of
his acquisition;

• If the lots have been assessed for taxation, their last assessed value; and

• The encumbrances, if any, affecting the lots and the names of adverse
claimants, as far as known.

d) Hearing
✓ The trial of the case in a place within the province in which the lands are
situated; Claimant presents evidence

✓ Orders for default and confessions entered, in the same manner as in

ordinary land registration proceedings and shall be governed by the same

✓ All conflicting interests shall be adjudicated by the court and decrees

awarded in favor of the persons entitled to the lands or to parts thereof
and such decrees shall be the basis for issuance of original certificates of
title in favor of said persons

e) Judgement
✓ Same as ordinary registration

f) Issuance of Decree
✓ After judgment has become final and executory, the court issue an order
to LRA for the issuance of the decree of registration and the
corresponding certificate of title in favor of the person adjudged entitled to

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