Press Release
August 16, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara told the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to rethink its land management programs during yesterday's budget hearing.

"Why did we burglarize the system of land classification in the country? We used to be very cautious about this, but have for several years now tolerated the mismanagement of our lands", says Angara, referring to the leasehold land system of the DENR.

The said system leases out lands for a period of 25 years, giving temporary owners absolute rights to the use of said property.

"We have allowed leasehold agreements in the guise of stewardship, opening our lands to exploitation," noted Angara.

He expressed concern that there are currently no provisions that protect the said lands from misuse of their old stewards. The DENR agreed to this statement, but insisted that for protected areas, the necessary provisions are in place.

Also citing the perennial problem on land disputes, Angara lamented the tedious process of resolving such issues: "They are currently solved not in the judiciary but politically through municipal councils. This has caused delay of the process and has also politicized it. We ought to review this system."

Angara has suggested the use of science and technology-based tools, like geodesy, to definitively determine territorial boundaries. (see related article: Angara Underscores Importance of Remote Sensing in Agriculture

Angara also raised the issue of selling the country's natural resources at cheap prices. "We are practically giving away our farmlands, forests, fisheries to anyone willing to fork over the minimum amount needed--which is not even at market prices," he said. "We should at least price it properly and make proper revenue from it.

"I recommend that government must cease and desist titling not certified by the DENR until the laws concerning them are rationalized by the Congress," stressed Angara.

Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, has consistently fought for the improvement of land titling, surveying, mapping, classification and registration in the country, and has also proposed the rationalization of overlapping government agencies and laws related to land administration.

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