A secure and bright future ahead. (From left) A resident of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro smiles as she receives the land title from Vice Governor Peter Alfaro, Representative Josephine Ramirez Sato, PENRO Ernesto Tanada and CENRO Efren delos Reyes. (Photo by CENRO San Jose)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), with the full support of the local government unit and leadership of the lone district of Occidental Mindoro, headed back to the municipality of San Jose to grant a total of 202 agricultural and residential free patent applications in the area.

The move followed the simultaneous distribution of free land titles in the island provinces of the MIMAROPA on September 27-28, 2019, when a total of 1,479 titles were awarded.

In a short program held at Brgy. Catayungan in Ilin Island, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Ernesto Tanada underscored the partnership of national agencies and LGUs in expediting the issuance of free titles as a step in fulfilling AmBisyon Natin 2040, which is set for the Filipinos to enjoy a strongly rooted, comfortable and secure life (Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay).

The application for free patents was processed at the Provincial and Community ENR Offices, while payment for registration fees to acquire Original Certificate of Title had been taken care of by Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Ramirez Sato.

“Nang malaman ko na may problema kasi hind pa bayad ang rehistro, sabi ko ako na lang ang magbabayad,” Rep. Sato expressed.

“Sa isang Pilipino, magiging maganda ang kinabukasan mo kung ikaw ay may pag-aari nang lupa. Ito ay isang pundasyon na dapat nating pagyamanin. Ang titulo ang pinakamatibay na dokumento na maipapamana natin sa ating pamilya,” she added.

Representative Sato, however, urged recipients of free titles to plant at least 10 trees in their lands to combat the ill effects of climate change.

Vice Governor Peter Alfaro was also present to congratulate the beneficiaries and remind them of their obligations as a landowner.

“Declare your title to the Assessor’s Office. Be responsible enough to pay your corresponding real property taxes,” he said.

CENRO San Jose, Efren Delos Reyes closed the program with hopes that such an initiative would inspire fellow government workers to continue the delivery of prompt and effective service to the public.

“Nawa’y ang mga ngiti ng mga beneficiaries ay magsilbing inspirasyon natin para sa pagpapatuloy ng ating magandang serbisyo publiko,” he ended.

Boosting economic and social growth through free land titles

The “Handog Titulo Program Para sa Mamamayan” is a continued joint effort of the national government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Registry of Deeds and LGUs. It is also a part of the government’s land disposition program by virtue of Republic Act No. 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Act.

This year, Secretary Roy Cimatu issued DENR Department Administrative Order (DAO) 2019-08 instructing all PENROs and CENROs to accept land titling applications at the barangay level.

“Under the DAO, we bring our services closer to the people by fast-tracking the processing and issuance of public land patents to deserving and qualified individuals,” DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado said.

Relative to this, Secretary Cimatu also signed DAO 2019-04 which calls for the conduct of nationwide Handog Titulo programs every September in celebration of Lands Anniversary.

As such, on September 27-28, DENR MIMAROPA and concerned LGUs held a simultaneous distribution of residential, agricultural and special patents that granted absolute ownership to private individuals and institutions in the region. A total of 1,479 land titles were issued in Occidental Mindoro (638), Oriental Mindoro (184), Marinduque (561) and Romblon (96).

“We envision that absolute and responsible land ownership would empower our people, and eventually spur economic and social progress in MIMAROPA,” the Director concluded.