GMA Signs Free Patent Act

Manila Bulletin, March 18, 2010 | Go to article overview

GMA Signs Free Patent Act


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed into law a measure that would allow many Filipinos to legally acquire titles to the land that they have been in possession for more than 10 years, Malacañang said Thursday.Republic Act No. 10023 or an Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands was approved by the President last March 9.The Free Patent Act, ratified by the two houses of Congress last December, seeks to ease the requirements and procedures in the titling of residential lands and bring to life such dormant wealth.An estimated 39 million Filipinos living in unregistered lands are expected to benefit from the new law that amended the Public Land Act.Prior to the enactment of the law, the landowners could only acquire title through the court under the present Public Land Act that often resulted in tedious process.For starters, the newly signed RA 10023 cut down the period of eligibility for titling from 30 years to 10 years.Any Filipino who has paid all the real estate taxes for 10 years shall be entitled to free patent for such parcel of land in all municipalities and cities.Only alienable lands that are not needed for public service or public use can be subject to free patent.Rather than hire a lawyer and wait for years for court approval, the landowner can easily lodge an application with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to acquire title through free patent.Other salient features of the law are the issuance of free patents without payment of outstanding real estate taxes and removal of restrictions after issuance of free patents.The government expects the Free Patent Law to secure the property rights of the owner and spur entrepreneurial activity in the country.At present, an estimated 46 percent of the 24.2 million parcels of land in the country remain untitled. Of these, 70 percent or 7.8 million are residential lands.Without the free patent law, land authorities earlier said it would take several decades to secure title for the 7.8 million residential land parcels. Arroyo OK’s tax info exchangeMeanwhile, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is now authorized to exchange information on tax matters with foreign counterparts to help fight international tax evasion based on Republic Act No. …

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