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DENR’s Engr. Romeo P. Verzosa Outlines Land Titling Reform at the 2nd Socialized Housing Summit

The second day of the 2nd Socialized Housing Summit, co-organized by the Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSent) and Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI) on March 18-19, 2024, at Ateneo de Manila University, featured Engr. Romeo P. Verzosa, Assistant Director of the DENR – Land Management Bureau. His presentation provided an essential overview of the challenges and proposed reforms in the land titling process, a critical step in addressing the Philippines’ housing crisis.


Verzosa began by outlining the mandate of the Land Management Bureau under Executive Order No. 192, emphasizing the role of the DENR in surveying, disposition, and administration of public Alienable and Disposable (A&D) lands. He stressed the adherence to the Regalian Doctrine, enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which posits that all natural resources are owned by the State, excluding agricultural lands from alienation.


A primary concern highlighted in Verzosa’s presentation was the need for agricultural land classification before titling, with nearly half of the Philippines’ land resources designated as agricultural. He explained the titling process and the modes of acquiring public A&D lands, including Free Patent, Homestead, Sales Patent, and Special Patent, under the Public Land Act.


In a compelling part of his talk, Verzosa detailed the improvements in the agricultural free patent process through Republic Act No. 11573 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), providing avenues for citizens to secure land rights. He underscored the streamlined process for acquiring residential free patents under RA 10023, facilitating easier access for Filipino citizens to residential lands.


One of the most insightful portions of Verzosa’s presentation focused on the challenges and proposed solutions for land titling, notably addressing the data gap in inventorying idle government land for socialized housing. He called for strengthened public and private partnerships to leverage resources for housing development. Additionally, the importance of establishing a fair and orderly beneficiary selection and queuing system was emphasized.


The talk also shed light on the vital steps before land can be awarded, such as social preparation and the bolstering of property and estate management institutions, ensuring that beneficiaries are well-prepared for homeownership.


The summit provided a platform for Verzosa to share the way forward, including tackling procedural bottlenecks and reinforcing the partnership between DENR and other government entities to support the issuance of Special Patents for public uses.



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