Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has expressed hope that the National Land Summit to be held this month will help address uncertainty, complexity and other problems associated with land ownership, with concerned government agencies working together to make land titling easier and faster.
“Land titling is an issue that has hounded our country’s land sector for the longest time because of the number of agencies involved in the land titling process,” Cimatu said over the weekend.
“We hope to solve this and create synergy among the concerned offices to make land titling faster and easier,” he added.
According to the chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), improved land administration and management is one of the major programs of the department for 2018.
“This first-ever land summit signifies our strong commitment to implement this program and bring it to fruition,” Cimatu said.
The DENR will hold the first-ever National Land Summit this month to also discuss issues and initiatives of the land sector, and create valuable partnerships to ensure synergy and cooperation among the land management and titling agencies in the country.
Over 400 participants from various government agencies, the business sector, civil society and other stakeholders will gather at the Manila Hotel on January 16-17 for the summit, with the theme “Forging Stronger Alliances and Bridging Networks.”
The country’s other three main titling agencies—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Land Registration Authority (LRA) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)—will also join the two-day conference.
Social justice in land titling is also among the five priority programs that shall be adopted by the Program for Environment and Natural Resources for Restoration, Rehabilitation and Development to address environment and natural resources issues.
Cimatu said the event is pursuant to Ambisyon Natin 2040, which represents the collective long-term vision and aspirations of Filipinos for themselves and for the country in the next 25 years, including owning a medium-sized house in a lot registered under their names.
He said the government aims to achieve this by providing tenure security through land ownership and formal titles.
The land summit supports Agenda No. 6 of the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic plan, which aims to “ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies.”
“Security of tenure is sacred for every Filipino and only a land title will seal ownership of it whether it is for personal or business use. The DENR is hitting hard on its goal to legitimize land ownership,” Cimatu pointed out.
Day 1 of the summit will highlight the importance of land titling in socioeconomic development.
Plenary sessions will be led by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, who will discuss the role of land tenure security in addressing socioeconomic agenda.
Other speakers include Ian Lloyd from Land Governance Innovations, who will discuss the best practices in land administration system, and Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs Adelino Sitoy, who will speak about legislative reform agenda on land administration and management.
There will also be presentations by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the Climate Change Commission on public land management; the NCIP, Land Management Bureau (LMB) and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council on land ownership and land tenure; and the Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Local Government Finance and Foundation for Economic Freedom on the socioeconomic agenda.
The LMB is a staff bureau of the DENR responsible for the administration, survey, management and disposition of alienable and disposable lands and other public lands not placed under the jurisdiction of other government agencies.
Day 2 will see discussions on land governance innovation and land information management and security by representatives from the University of the Philippines College of Engineering, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Habitat, LMB, LRA and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.
At the end of the summit, the participants are expected to present a Declaration of Commitment to address bottlenecks in land administration and management to Cimatu, who will forward the same to President Rodrigo Duterte.
In support of the government efforts to promote social equity, the DENR’s regional offices are tasked to distribute public agricultural lands to those in the rural areas and to take charge of the processing of agricultural and residential free patent applications.
Last year, the DENR launched the Land Administration and Management System-Philippines or LAMS, which aims to speed up the processing and delivery of land-related services in the country and promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the management of land records.